“Nexus TV” set top box rumors return, point to first half of 2014



It’s safe to say that Google’s conquest of taking over your living room hasn’t been all that successful. For all the promise it showed on paper, the Google TV platform never really took off for multiple reasons, such as often the cost of the device in comparison with other competitors, like the Roku, the ecosystem and the interface. So when the Chromecast was released and sold like hotcakes, many wondered if this was the end of the Google TV platform.

However, Google always said that it wasn’t, and rumors are once again swirling of a “Nexus TV” set top box that would release in the first half of 2014. The talk earlier this year was that Andy Rubin showed off a prototype at CES, with rumored features including a three-dimensional motion sensor, like a Kinect, with a heavy focus on simplicity in using the device, possibly with your phone. Personally, I’d put a bet on an “always listening” mode, too. Google’s done a great job with it in a limited way on the Google Experience Launcher on the Nexus 5, and in particular Motorola’s implementation of it on the Moto X. Honestly, the way I see it, the best interface on a TV would be voice.

We’re not quite sure about the content aspect of it, though I expect all the major online services that signed up for the Chromecast would be happy to join. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the set-top box also acts as a Chromecast receiver, allowing you to push content from your phone to the TV in the same manner as with the dongle. There should also be a few apps and games.

[The Verge]

Raveesh Bhalla

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  1. I really don’t get why they need nexus TV and chromecast. One is enough!

    1. chromecast is obviously a developers reference platform, google tv needs to elevate itself to what this article describes to also survive. I already see lots of chromecasting features leaking into other device like my samsung smart tv’s youtube and netflix apps use cast button. rather than youtube remote.

      in my mind smart tv boxes like roku and a nexus/google tv box should replace all smart tv functions and then some for a dumb panel. so being able to get features like motion and voice controls which are limited to top tier smart tvs would be huge in the $100ish box market.

      the problem with this stuff is inevitably they will include some sort of browser function and once u put on a browser people think its a computer, and sub$100 devices make awesome media playback devices and terrible computers

      1. Chromecast is not a developers reference. Not at all.

        1. That is correct Google saw to that rapidly, just ask Koush. Hopefully they will back off though.

        2. When I say Chromecast I’m referring to the actual chromecast stick vs. other casting features. It’s like how the nexus 1 was useful for developers to test and create apps for the android marketplace store. Yes google is going way to slow, probably for commercial reasons with the bigger developers. I still hold out hope though that they will eventually open it up and release apps that developers have worked on with the api. Lots of non developers bough n1s. The chromecast stick being sold widely to the public is necessary because otherwise creating apps would have no market. It’s really a chicken and the egg situation all platforms get stuck in. Do you create apps for a market that doesn’t yet exist, or buy/sell devices that access an ecosystem that doesn’t have many apps yet? maybe I’m wrong maybe my 1st gen chromecast stick isn’t an n1, maybe it’s a g1.

          1. This is not the Nexus One. Nor is it the G1. It’s not trying to demonstrate a software, it’s trying to fill a need. You will see this demonstrated by the fact that Google is being almost rude to the teams trying to develop for Chromecast (see Brad’s mention of Koush.)

            It may not make sense to folks outside of Google land, but Android and Chrome are two different departments. They are okay with making redudant products and Chromecast is the GoogleTV product coming from Chrome.

          2. …except for the fact that chrome and android are now headed by the same man and that the code for the chromecast os is closer to android than chrome os. Although to be fair chrome os and android get closer to being the same thing every few weeks. Their integration is an inevitability. My guess is we are just waiting for android phones specs to be able to handle heavier browsing tasks (like flash) and insane numbers of simultaneously open tabs. Chrome os on the otherhand is trickier since touch will never be the primary input for it, but even adding offline/desktop apps brings chrome os one step closer.

          3. Max, I see you have not had the joy of using the Pixel.

          4. Alas I haven’t had a chance to play with one in person, but even so for laptops touchscreen will never be the primary input, it’s too much work and an inefficient way to control something when you have a mouse right there.

          5. Max, I am not talking about efficiency, I am talking about your comment: “although again touch implementations may be a limiting factor with fully using all android apps.” – Anyways I don’t agree with you that is all. Chrome and Android are attempting to become the only OS. Both tread on each-others territory. And unlike “Android”, Chrome is the baby of Google and if you pay close attention..they always stick close to their baby.

          6. I really can’t see any way to merge Chrome and Android. They are two different philosophies. Android is a full OS on a device and designed to run applications installed on the device. Chrome is a browser based OS, where nearly everything is expected to be run from the cloud.

            You change always change the name(s), but you can’t really merge them. It would either be Android or Chrome. It can’t be both, since any merge would cause one or the other to fall by the wayside.

          7. I don’t know exactly which way they will choose to merge them but their are only a couple choices. Both OSes use a similiar version of linux at their core. both run on arm processors as well as x86(android is newer at x86 while chrome is newer at arm)

            option 1)
            Android already has a lite version of chrome browser… eventually this version of chrome continues to gain features until it is the same version of chrome browser used by pc/mac/chrome os. features like extensions, pepper flash, etc.
            option 2)
            chrome os has already begun slowly adding support for offline apps. This eventually expands to include play store support, although again touch implementations may be a limiting factor with fully using all android apps.
            option 3) unlikely, but possible, devices feature a dual-boot ability

            I still think full integration is possible as early as android 6.x and almost assured by android 7.x. Android Layer Cake anyone?

      2. I have to disagree as well. Chromecast was featured in CyberMonday deals and Google often advertises it on TV.

    2. They are two different things but would be even better together. Chromecast is a way to share content with others without transferring ownership or making copies. If I’m on any WiFi network with a Chromecast connected, I can cast my content to it without being required to sign in on the Chromecast itself because my device is already signed into my account.

      Google or Android TV is more about having a fully functional Android OS on your TV to do more complex things like download and run apps directly from the device, play games, stream your media, browse the web, search for content across multiple sources. With Google Now integrated, you could use voice commands to switch tasks or change channels. With a camera and microphone, you could do video hangouts. You could even potentially do two of these things at the same time. Since this could essentially turn your TV into the central media and communication center of your home, it would always be signed into your Google account and likely let you set up user profiles for the family so they could easily be switched. It’s all more capable than Chromecast could ever be on its own.

      However, with Chromecast built into it, your friends and extended family could still come over and cast their own content to it with their own device, most likely their phone, and still not need to be signed into your Nexus box with their account. That’s really cool for something like watching a movie with them that they purchased from the Play Store but that you don’t own yourself. When it’s over, they then take their device and their movie with them when they leave. I think it’s pretty genius actually and hope it is the rout Google ends up taking. The Chromecast itself is still very useful on it’s own too because it’s so portable. It can be used on the bedroom TV or be taken anywhere there is an HDTV and WiFi so you can cast at a friend’s house who doesn’t own either device or in a hotel for example.

    3. The chromecast is kind of a cheap nice device. It is relatively fast compared to other devices. But it is ultimately not a device that can be used to cut off the cable cord. It does not allow local streaming and as of now much development from the android community. Also one of the big drawbacks is that it does not offer continuous play it is a one off play and then you have to select another show instead of being seemless.

      1. I agree, although it does offer limited continuous play when using youtube tv queue, which is admittedly buggy at this point still.

      2. chromecast allows continuous play from your youtube queue… in the future it will do the same with netflix, hulu, as the continuous play from queue feature is added to other apps. also there is already hints in the android 4.4.1 code that show mirroring will become standard in chromecast. meaning you could stream any local content from your phone that you want. Furthermore, people like myself have already cut the cord and use only netflix/hulu for 100% of their television watching on their big screen TVs

  2. Why not improve chromecast? They can sell a peripheral that will add motion control that is also wirelessly connected to chromecast.

  3. I’d pay upwards of 200$ if it was a media player that can play any type of media off of usb drive, that has wifi and plays files off of google drive, has play store apps etc. (I know devices like that already exist, but I’d had trouble with several not playing certain files, ie: sony/WD).

  4. Now that the top of our sets are less than an inch thick, and it’s nearly impossible to put anything on them, can we stop saying “Set top box” ?

    1. always wondered where that term can from…and now that I know….its irrelevant…

      1. Wow, you must be young. Never seen a CRT?

    2. What should we replace it with?

  5. I have no desire to control my TV with my voice.

    1. Why not? We’ve been getting stuff done with our voices since we learned how to speak. I remember the days before remote controls. I changed the channel with my voice all the time back then. “Mom, will you change it to cartoons!” :p Only now it would be, “Ok Google, go to channel 6,” or “Ok Google, find The Black List.”

      1. I’m assuming you don’t have kids, or at least not more than one. A voice command feature would have the TV changing channels constantly. “Spongbob…click” “Good Luck Charlie,,,click” “Spongebob…click”, etc.

        1. True. I guess it wouldn’t be so useful in some cases lol. Those poor people with kids who bought an Xbox One must be having a heck of a time! It should be a feature one could turn off perhaps?

          1. LOL. On the xbox one this feature can be turned off.

    2. It is a great feature for techphobic wife. She just hits one button, says “Watch HGTV” and there it is.

      1. I already have this feature on my Xbox one, which integrates cable, “quality” gaming, Quality Skype chat, instant screen switching through voice command, split screen multitasking, cable channel turning through voice command (i.e. “Xbox Watch HBO). My wife just says “Xbox on” and not only the console but the tv comes on as well. It also has a nice facial regconition feature that greets me and switches to my custom user interface as I walk in front of it. Say “Xbox show my stuff” and it will switch to the user interface that you created for your profile as it regconizes anyone in the room that has a profile created. Updates are constantly coming to improve the device functionalliy as well. Truly, Google is really late in the game for this device.

  6. I just bought a new TV! NOOOO!!!

    1. It’s a set top box, not a TV

  7. How about Google bringing Fiber to more areas and especially bay area first before I buy any of their TV/Box ?

  8. I guess we shall see the functionality of this. I bought and returned the Sony Google TV box and wasn’t all that impressed.

  9. With Google seeming to treat Google TV like an unwanted stepchild, I’m not sure why I’d want to buy it again under a different name, just so they can abandon it once again. Esp when they haven’t even finished the Chromecast API yet. It’s fine to keep your own websites in perpetual beta, but not really a smart idea for consumer electronics.

  10. I have two Sony GoogleTV boxes that work wonderfully. I would definitely give this a shot.

  11. Hopefully it will run actual full Android and not a neutered bastardized OS. It would have been a must buy if it had a cable card.

  12. No live broadcast? Give up, then. Google is far from the best at UI, Amazon seems to avoid them (no video players for Google Android), and Roku is a good neutral player. What does Google have to add?

    1. I don’t believe Amazon is holding back a “vanilla” android video player because of the UI. They want the Kindle to be the only Android device that can play movies purchased from them.

  13. A Google’s Nexus set-top-box makes all sense since Apple TV and Roku are hard settling on that niche. Google can’t afford being out of the living room entertainment.

    However, as Brad Arbeiter said, the success of Nexus TV entirely depends on running full Android. That’s the key of the success of the Android TV Dongles. Google can shake off all that competition with a set-top-box running actual Android.

    I can’t see a future though for the Chromecast if a Nexus TV finally rolls out.

  14. I can’t wait until I can give Directv the finger. I currently have a Chromecast and 2 GTV boxes. I will most certainly buy this device.

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