We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
Roku already gave users the ability to stream content from their Android devices to their set top boxes, but now the company is taking things a bit further. Instead of select files, the company will give people to capability to stream whatever is on their screen. We've seen this from Miracast devices, we've seen it from Chromecast, and now we're seeing it from Roku. Update: In fact, Roku is using Miracast to deliver this functionality.
Last month I took Amazon's Fire TV for a test drive and came away pretty damn impressed. It's a nice box with a lot to like – but there's also some pretty stiff competition in the streaming box arena. Companies like Google and Roku are both ready to take your money in exchange for enhancing an otherwise stale television experience.
Since there a variety of options on the market today, we decided to take four of the most popular and put them in a head-to-head deathmatch.
Let's face it: at this point, Google TV is a certified flop. For all its good points, its adoption was hampered by expensive hardware, limited apps, and a clunky interface. Google is hoping to revive their set-top plans with "Android TV," an as-yet unverified platform revealed by The Verge last month. Others found more details of Android code powering a Google set-top box in the Android 4.4.3 changelog. Now anonymous sources tell GigaOM that the device will get a formal introduction, if not a full rollout, at Google I/O in June.
Mega-retailer Amazon has scheduled a press event for Wednesday, April 2nd in New York City. The press invitation teases the event with the phrase, "Please join us for an update on our video business from [Amazon Kindle VP] Peter Larsen." A background with a couch and a bowl of popcorn makes it clear that Amazon's sights are set squarely on the living room.
The Verge is fairly certain that the event heralds an Amazon-branded set-top box, a la Roku or Chromecast.
Over seven months ago, Samsung quietly debuted the HomeSync, an Android-powered set top box that combines Google TV features with a home media server. The device was scheduled for an April release, but this date came and went without further information, leaving us wondering if the device would ever become widely available in the US. Well, it's here. You can now purchase the HomeSync from Amazon, Best Buy, or Samsung directly for $299.99.
If you thought that Google and Nestle were unlikely bedfellows, just wait till you get a load of this one. Qualcomm wants a piece of the low-cost streaming entertainment pie, and they intend to bring an Android-powered set-top box (a la Google TV or Chromecast) to market. There's not much information available about the hardware, but it will be called SVELTE, it'll use a Snapdragon 600 processor and an LTE wireless radio, and it will be distributed by Technicolor.
Update: It turns out you can get a Samsung HomeSync in the US... if you live in the greater Chicago area. AT&T is selling the devices at its flagship store on Michigan Avenue, and only at this store. We called up the location for information about pricing and availability, here's what we were told: the HomeSync is $299 (no contracts or anything), is currently in stock at that location, and you do not have to be an AT&T customer to purchase one.
We've been keeping an eye on the Samsung registration page for a while now - it's got some nice perks for owners of select tablets. Yesterday a new device was added to the short list, the Samsung HomeSync. If you'll stretch memory a bit, you'll recall that the HomeSync is a combination home server and set-top box revealed back at MWC in February. You can register a new purchase on the page to get $50 of credit for the Media Hub, Samsung's alternative to the Play Store.
Here's a nice nugget of new for Google TV fans - we know you're out there. There have been rumors of an update to Sony's stylish NSZ-GS7 model (more colloquially known as the "Internet Player") for some time, and now they've made it official via the company blog. The NSZ-GS8 will be available for $199 starting in July, the online Sony store and the usual retail suspects. For the moment, Sony is selling the older model with a $30 discount, bringing it down to $169.99.