Android TV is very much alive, as was made abundantly clear by the plethora of new Android TV powered televisions with Google Assistant capability shown off at CES 2018. Streaming boxes powered by Android TV, however, are conspicuously missing—the last Android TV set-top box to be released in the United States was the Xiaomi Mi Box in October 2016.
Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV products both received hardware refreshes last September, while Roku products received hardware refreshes in October. In comparison, the three year old Nexus Player—arguably the flagship of Android TV—last received a software update in November, and will not be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo. Read More
It wouldn't be fair to call the Razer Forge TV a failure. No, that simply wouldn't be right. If I did that, I'd miss the opportunity to call it a half-baked, poorly-supported product that lags behind even the limited field of Android TV devices like a three-legged dog chasing a nitrous-powered mail truck. Almost a year after its US launch the set-top box is still inexplicably incompatible with Netflix, the promised PC game streaming software feature has disappeared, and even after being injected with the decrepit soul of OUYA the Forge is basically a dead platform. But there's one last thing to report on before we can finally lay it to rest: the Turret. Read More
The dream of OUYA was not to be. It turns out that overturning a decades-old industry by disrupting it with mobile hardware and open-source software is a tough row to hoe, and adding on a semi-exclusive game market (you know, that thing that consoles do that's already universally hated) wasn't the best opening move. So OUYA floundered in the maturing set-top box market until Razer snapped it up in the hopes of bolstering its own Forge TV, which had been on the market for months and was already known as the worst option in an extremely limited field.
Huh. Maybe they just wanted some company to commiserate with. Read More
The saga of OUYA is a cautionary tale of how hard it is to build a new gaming platform. After an initial crowdfunding success, OUYA had trouble attracting developers and keeping gamers interested. The company was gobbled up by gaming giant Razer earlier this year, and now the OUYA store is back as Cortex for the Android TV-powered Forge TV. Read More
Razer never seemed to really get behind its Android TV device. As far as we can tell, review units for the Forge TV were never sent to any of the tech media (not that we're bitter or anything. Razer. Not at all), and after brutal user reviews were splattered all over the Internet, the device still doesn't support the Android TV version of Netflix. Razer never released the neat-o mouse-and-keyboard combo designed specifically for couch gaming, the company's alternative to NVIDIA's PC game streaming software still hasn't materialized, and there have been no mentions of software updates or even notable game releases since the Forge TV launched in April. Read More
Razer, PC gaming accessory maker and recent Android TV also-ran, bought Ouya. That left a lot of people hanging, and not just Ouya employees or customers. Those Android game developers who had taken the company up on its "Free The Games" funding offer for extra development money in exchange for timed exclusivity to the Ouya platform, and who hadn't yet been paid, got stung by a "bankruptcy or buyout" clause in the contract. Since Ouya was bought by an outside company, the matching funds from the original deal no longer have to be provided. Read More
The second Android TV device to be available directly from Google is also the second Android TV device to be sold, period: the Forge TV from gaming peripheral maker Razer. The Forge TV bundle is now on sale in the Google Store. This $149.99 USD package includes the Forge TV itself and one Serval Bluetooth controller. Oddly, the stand-alone Forge TV (which sells for $100 and requires an Android phone, since it has no remote) isn't listed on the Google Store. It's shipping to the US and Canada.
The Serval controller is also available as a stand-alone purchase for a whopping $79.99. Read More
There hasn't been much news out of OUYA for the last year or so, and Razer's first effort at mobile hardware, the Android TV-powered Forge TV, hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire either. Would combining forces make either of these products better? Probably not. But according to a recent post on TechCrunch, at least someone thinks it might be a good idea.
TechCrunch reports that premium game accessory maker Razer is interested in purchasing OUYA, or at least what's left of it now that the "mini console" fad has come and gone. OUYA has tried numerous strategies to gain back the excitement of its initial Kickstarter campaign, including the addition of a subscription service and farming out its game library to competitors like MadCatz. Read More
Razer's Forge TV/console/box thing, which runs Android TV, has started shipping to pre-order buyers, and they're not liking what they find once they kick back to watch some Netflix... because they can't.
Attempting to find Netflix on the Play Store is a no go, casting from your connected phone won't work, and even sideloading the Android TV Netflix v2 APK (and even with rooting and build.prop edits) won't get you around this issue. The only solution is to sideload the standard phone APK, which then reverts to 480p only mode and uses the tablet UI, which is of course terrible on a TV. Read More