Rumor: Google cooking up Nexus TV box

Google’s Nexus product family may expand beyond phones and tablets next year. According to newly established tech blog The Information, a Nexus-branded set-top box is on the way. The Information’s story is stuck behind a (pretty steep) paywall, but Engadget has the Cliff’s Notes version.

In short, it sounds like the Nexus set-top-box will be an Android device capable of running both games and video streaming services. Users will be able to control it with their smartphones or tablets, and Engadget says the thing will be "aggressively priced" and intended as a "gaming box."

The Information, which quotes "people who have seen the device or were told about it," says Google could be planning the launch for the first half of 2014.

It’s not clear how, if at all, the Nexus set-top box would differentiate itself from standalone Google TV devices. Those are available today from firms like Asus and Netgear, and as far as I can tell, they’re capable of running Android games. I haven’t seen those marketed very aggressively, though, and according to Gigaom, Google plans to ditch the Google TV brand and push Android for the living room.

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    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    Won’t be surprised if this is a Nexus 5 or 7 without the screen and second camera, but WITH a camera and some PrimeSense-like (not PrimeSense since they’re owned by Apple) technology for waving your hands around like you just don’t care…

    I’m sure we’ll see the next iteration of Google Now technology.

    Better get used to saying, “OK, Google!” a lot.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 6 years ago

    Um… but there’s already Chromecast?

      • Xenolith
      • 6 years ago

      You can’t run android apps on a Chromecast.

      • eitje
      • 6 years ago

      yep, like xeno said: CCast is good for streaming video, but not much else.

    • tviceman
    • 6 years ago

    This will pretty much be everything that Ouya should have been. And coming in the first half of 2014 sounds like it will be down to Tegra 5 vs. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805.

      • swaaye
      • 6 years ago

      They better go faster than that or they will be in the same situation as Ouya in a year. In the minds of with hardware-obsessive tech folks anyway.

      Something like this is going to be mostly about being much better than those mini media boxes and all-in-one Bluray players that are all over now. Not hard to blow those away.

        • Ringofett
        • 6 years ago

        I disagree to some extent. I think Ouya’s failure was due to market heft instead of just hardware. It just didn’t have much worth buying it for in its store. An Android device conceivably comes with the entire Google Play Store.

        The hardware is already used to driving 1080p (and higher) screens, just with much higher pixel density. Not the grandest image quality, but the Wii’s hardware sucked from the start and it was a huge success too.

        Not saying it’ll succeed, it may or may not (for the simple purpose of streaming I’m not clear why one would buy this over a Chromecast), but I do think it’s got a decent chance.

          • BabelHuber
          • 6 years ago

          I really was inerested in the Ouya at first, but then it was released late to market with a then-outdated SoC, shitty controllers, lots of lag and problems with XBMC.

          I would have happily paid €199 if they would have deliverd – full Android with full XBMC features and a little gaming console on top. All of this while feeling fast.

          But with this performance, I have kept my good old WD TV. Let’s see what comes next.

        • tviceman
        • 6 years ago

        Tegra 5’s GPU will be more powerful than the 360 and PS3 when it runs if it runs at it’s full potential. I think a (guessing) $129 Nexus TV device would do just fine with that kind of power.

    • mcnabney
    • 6 years ago

    I could care LESS about some shiny new device that is just a repacking of something that already exists.

    What I WANT is Google to offer a completely IP TV service. It could launch with this hardware which would make it idiot proof – but also allow the subscriber to watch their content through Chrome on any other computer/device. Essentially make every cable box and TV provider obsolete overnight. They could offer channels in bundles or a la carte. There is HUGE demand for this by the millions of consumers that are sick of Comcast, or Time Warner Cable, or AT&T, or whoever.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      I bet that’s in their long-term plans with their fiber service.

      • Shambles
      • 6 years ago

      *couldn’t

        • flip-mode
        • 6 years ago

        Yep, I always hear people say it wrong. OP should specify how much less he could care.

          • mcnabney
          • 6 years ago

          Me fail english? Thats unpossible!

      • keltor
      • 6 years ago

      Isnt their cable service fully IP TV? Outside of that it will not happen unless the content providers start licensing their content OR are forced to. They will not do this at this time. One day hopefully but I’m guessing more like 2020 or so.

      • nanoflower
      • 6 years ago

      No, that won’t work. Time Warner has tried implementing bandwidth limits and now Comcast is also testing monthly bandwidth usage limits. These limits are set up so that someone trying to replace cable TV usage with just IP video won’t work unless they watch a very limited amount of TV. Not really a surprise that they would do that as they have no incentive to give up that revenue without getting anything in return.

        • Ringofett
        • 6 years ago

        That’s the most sensible explanation of data caps, including Netflix and whatnot too. They’d rather we use their own VOD services. And why we need to separate ownership of the final mile infrastructure, at the very least, from the ISPs themselves, and preferably have a viable 2nd pipe in to the home.

          • slowriot
          • 6 years ago

          My power is provided by a local cooperative. The rates are lower, the customer service quality far higher, and the fringe benefits (free light bulbs and power strips? Thanks!) better than any other place I’ve lived (like just two miles across town where I was forced to deal with thieves). I would absolutely love if my ISP was setup similarly. Granted, I’m in a great position of having an independent ISP in my area but it could still be better and many other’s are simply not as fortunate.

            • Ethyriel
            • 6 years ago

            On the other hand, we have two building across the street from each other. One uses TEP, the other Trico (rural Tucson area.) The TEP building never, ever has issues, while we commonly get brownouts and a couple extended outages in the Trico building. TEP is the big electric company in the area, while Trico is the cooperative. Trico also offers internet service, which is pretty consistently awful from what I’ve seen. Their dialup back in the day was as bad as it got, and their current wireless offerings are total crap compared to another local company.

            I wish it weren’t the case, I’d much rather see the cooperative succeed, but they just can’t seem to get their crap together from what I’ve seen and heard.

            • Silverwar
            • 6 years ago

            I think that varries by location pretty heavily, when I lived downtown, I got lots of flicker and occasional brownouts from TEP, but up in Marana, Trico seems pretty stable, except when it goes down completely, which happens more frequently than I remember from TEP.

    • sweatshopking
    • 6 years ago

    I REMEMBER WHEN THIS WAS NEWS! THE NEXUS Q! WHATEVER HAPPENED? OH YEAH. IT WAS TRASH AND THEY KILLED IT.
    REMEMBER WHEN GOOGLE CLAIMED THAT HALF OF ALL NEW TVS IN 2012 WOULD HAVE GOOGLE IN THEM? HAHAHH KEEP TROLLING, GOOGLE.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      Chromecast is showing that the Nexus Q is a distant memory.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        Then what’s the point of this new device? Its not a chromecast, it’s a Q replacement.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 6 years ago

      That’s a very insightful post, SSK.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        THANKS BRO. ITS ALL TRUE. I’VE YET TO SEE A CHROMECAST IN THE WILD, BUT SEEN PLENTY OF XBOXS AND PLAYSTATIONS. AINT NOBODY GONNA BUY THIS.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 6 years ago

    I wonder if they are finally going to put their acquisition of Sage TV to use.

      • Aerugo
      • 6 years ago
        • Ethyriel
        • 6 years ago

        I decided to do the streaming thing a couple of weeks ago. I replaced my Zotac AD10 running OpenELEC, pulling media from a Samba share on my server with a Roku 3 using streaming services and the Plex channel for my existing library. The interface is a little slow, but it works pretty damned well for an investment of less than $100 considering I already had the server to throw Plex onto. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to replace my aging hard drives, and move from Debian with MD RAID to FreeNAS with ZFS.

        I could have done the same thing with Google TV, but I wasn’t really excited about any existing devices. The Sony NSZ-GS8 looks pretty nice, but there’s been no official word about the move to Android 4.2. Everything else either gets horrible reviews, or won’t fit where I want it (Asus Cube). I figured for less than $100 now, I can always migrate later once the Google TV market shifts.

    • nico1982
    • 6 years ago

    They could just take a Nexus 5, remove all the useless crap (for a set top box) like screen, camera, battery and they are good to go. Pretty much the same thing Sony did with the less lucky PSVita and its Vita TV offspring 😛

    I’d consider one.

      • Zizy
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]remove all the useless crap[/quote<] Hum, after you remove all the software and hardware you dont have much left. How is this going to compare to Ouya and the good old 360/PS3?

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 6 years ago

      Anandtech just posted a review of SQ from popular smartphones, and the Nexus 5 did terribly.

        • hoboGeek
        • 6 years ago

        I read the review [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/7517/google-nexus-5-review/8[/url<] One the two things must be true: 1. You haven't really read the article till the end since this is the author's conclusion, and I quote: [quote<]For the price, the Nexus 5 is easily one of the best buys on the market today[/quote<] 2. You really have no idea what "terribly" means.

          • jihadjoe
          • 6 years ago

          1. Srsly_Bro was referring to [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing/<]a review[/url<] that focused only on Sound Quality, not the quality of the entire product. 2. I'd say 13% THD+N and clipping on one channel qualifies as "terribly" far as SQ goes.

            • BlondIndian
            • 6 years ago

            1.The SQ of a device should be compared to the price range of the product. So , it’s bad compared to note 3 S4 and iphone5 .

            2. If you read the review, the problem is only in the top 3 volume levels . The nexus 5 is about the loudest of the bunch so , going down 3 levels(out of ten) is not a big deal. The SQ is great below that volume level. It’s still a bug , but not a showstopper.

            I bet the Nexus 5 still handily beats the Galaxy mini and other mid-range phones..

            • jihadjoe
            • 6 years ago

            1. The Nexus 5 doesn’t have to be compared to anything. Its SQ can be evaluated independently of other devices.

            2. Have to agree with you on this point. Rather than arbitrarily testing at max volume, Anandtech should have settled on a reference level (commonly 85dB) and done their measurements at whatever volume setting each device needed to attain that output level with pink noise.

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 6 years ago

          The phone was released to output higher volume levels. At these levels it distorts. You shouldn’t buy a product with the intent of using it at only certain settings due to product issue. It should work well at all settings. At least Apple and the SG4 got it right.

          I like your #2 point, but you’re wrong and I’m right. End of discussion.

        • Chrispy_
        • 6 years ago

        Epic fail; I hate that article because it was so badly explained!

        What I took from the graphs (and the bumbling, poorly-worded conclusion) was that Nexus 5 performed well at higher volumes than the iPhone, and only distorted at much louder volumes.

        They’re saying something akin to a $10,000 B&O speaker package being inferior because it distorts at maximum volume compared to a pair of $20 PC speakers that don’t distort at their maximum volume, because their maximum volume just happens to be set lower.

        To top it all off, they’re only using iPhone earbuds when testing the Nexus. Seems a little unfair, don’t you think? They could at least test it with the oficial LG Nexus 5 headset….

          • MadManOriginal
          • 6 years ago

          I agree that the article poorly explains that while the Nexus 5 does distort at its highest volumes, those highest volumes are so much higher that it’s not an equal comparison. There should be a chart that compares at equal RMS voltage or equal power output.

          I do think you misunderstand the testing methodology though. From what I read, the testing is done on the test equipment (analog input and then measure the output, or maybe an artifical load? I’d have to check again for the output), and the headphones are only going to be used for subjective comparison. It would be very unscientific to measure the output distortion at the headphone via a microphone or something like that because it would include distortion from the headphone itself.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      It’s going to take a software overhaul for Google to put a phone-less, camera-less, display-less Nexus 5 into a set top box. Definitely need a remote-friendly TV interface – not everyone is going to want to talk to their TV. Still, hardware-wise I like your style. That’s way better than a Tegra 3-based Ouya.

      I think the Vita TV is really interesting and probably a better console than an Ouya, too, even though it’s not as fast.

        • trackerben
        • 6 years ago

        How do we know they won’t do some ODM from the team behind Sharp who did Lenovo’s droid HDTV?

        [url<]http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Marvell-Armada-1500-SoC-Smart-TV-Lenovo,news-17303.html[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 6 years ago

          That would be quite a software overhaul from stock Android wouldn’t it?

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