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Alongside Google’s Android Lollipop 5.0 announcement, they revealed their Android TV box, the Nexus Player. Although wrongly being reported as the first ever Android TV Box by many media outlets the Nexus Player will bring an interface specifically designed for your TV making it easier to navigate and get the most out of Android on your TV.
Google has tried entering in your living room before with Google TV but will little success, this time they think they have finally designed a product that everyone will want. It is a tough market as many Chinese manufactures already have a small foothold in this niche even though it currently only interests hard-core android and XBMC/Kodi fans. Let’s not forget the bigger competitors Apple and Amazon who have quite a head start. If Google can bring their full Play Store to the TV then the competition is on. Oh and the question everyone is asking, will it play XBMC Kodi? Yes, the Nexus Play will work with Kodi as it runs Android. Coupled with the powerful CPU this may become the best Kodi player available.
The days of physical media are almost over, very few people want to head to the store to buy a movie or a TV series. You can happily get away without using physical media, in fact I prefer my laptop to be without, as it gives me space for another HDD. With this in mind the Nexus Player will be exclusively used to stream content from services such as Netflix and Google Movies & TV.
Running the new Android Lollipop especially optimised for your TV this Android Box is really making Android a very attractive option for your TV. The only problem being apps will need to be optimised for this system so it may be a while until we really see something interesting.
This round shaped device plugs directly into your TV via HDMI and it is extremely small. Measuring at 120x120x20mm it is smaller than a Blu-ray Disk although a little thicker! Although small, check out the specs below as it really does pack a punch.
Running on a 1.8GHz quad core Intel Atom chip this Asus device really does pack some power. Along with a PowerVR Series 6 GPU specifically to power games and offer some hardware acceleration for HD video playback this device is defiantly setting the benchmark.
Its powerful processor comes with a rather poultry 8GB of flash memory which isn’t going to offer much space after the OS, so no recording directly to your device. Maybe they will have a record to USB HDD option? The 1GB of memory might also cause a few issues when playing the latest Android games and really doesn’t future proof the device, 2GB would have been a lot better.
Lacking an Ethernet port will put off many hard-core media fans as streaming uncompressed 1080p video might struggle on a shared WiFi point, although Asus has fitted it with an 802.11 ac 2×2 (MIMO) chip so the top speed of the connection should be quite impressive, but not everyone sits their TV close to their WiFi.
Including a remote control with a build in microphone for Google search this will prove use full. If you haven’t tried it recently Google Voice is extremely impressive and is definitely leading the charge. The remote doesn’t use the standard IR controls it instead uses Bluetooth which the device includes as standard allowing you to connect a multitude of devices.
You will also find an included power adapter and quick start guide, but no HDMI cable so you will have to buy that yourself. Remember HDMI is digital so a £1 HDMI cable will give the same picture as a £500 cable.
Check the specs below
|CPU||1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel® Atom™|
|GPU||Imagination PowerVR Series 6 Graphics 2D/3D Engine|
|Ports||18W DC power|
|HDMI out (1920×1080@60Hz)|
|WiFi||802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO)|
120mm x 120mm x 20mm
Running on a customised version of Android specifically designed for the big screen you will find instant access to all of your Google Play content as well as all of your apps and games you have downloaded. Navigating this will be easy using the included remote of the Google Remote Control available on the Play store.
Lets not forget the Nexus Player offers all the functionality of the Google Chromecast meaning you can stream content from all your favourite apps straight to your TV, even if the app is not yet available on Android TV itself.
Cross device syncing makes sure that you are always synced across all of your android devices meaning that you can load game saves from you Android phone and you can pause your TV show and continue watching it on your phone as you go to the loo, all very useful features.
Installing Kodi on the Nexus Player is going to be on everyone’s mind, being the preferred media player for many and offering a vast selection of addons this could become the player of choice. In essence you can play all your own content and we haven’t come across any DRM… Yet.
The device is available for preorder very soon (October 17th), but the shipping date is currently unknown. We do think that it will be available before Christmas which could end up being a nice little present.
Google hasn’t announced the price of the Nexus Player yet, but there are rumours of around $99, probably £79 for us Brits. This will be in direct competition with Amazons Fire TV and Apple TV. We will update with the confirmed price once we receive it.
So do you think that Google has done it right this time? Will we be seeing Android in every living room soon? Let us know in the comments below.