The transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music has been a rocky and contentious one. But Google isn't finished axing its media apps just yet. According to updated support documentation, the Google Play Movies & TV app on smart televisions is the next one to get the chop. The phone app was replaced with the newer "Google TV" app in October, but the app will disappear from smart TV platforms as well starting in June.
Last year's Consumer Electronics Show brought some of the first third-party devices with Google Assistant — Google's virtual helper had only been released a few months prior. This year, we saw a wide variety of devices running Assisant. Beyond the usual mix of smart lights and speakers, there are mirrors, electric car chargers, water systems, and even Insant Pots with Assistant.
For your reading enjoyment, this is every product announced at CES 2019 with Google Assistant (or Google Assistant integration), in no particular order.
After roughly six months of slow and steady rollout, the YouTube TV app is now available on all Vizio SmartCast TVs. The $40 per month cable alternative first arrived on a selection of newer, high performing Vizio models about half a year ago, with a YouTube engineer on Reddit noting that the company would add more models after monitoring and fine-tuning playback quality. That process seems to be complete now, as Google has just updated its YouTube TV app help page confirming the support.
LeEco cited "regulatory headwinds" as the reason for calling off the merger. It could also have been a little bit, maybe, that it just seemed like a bad idea and honestly made no sense from a product strategy perspective.
Looks like Vizio is pulling itself out of some hot water. The popular television manufacturer (among other products) has been fined $2.2 million, payable to the FTC and the State of New Jersey, for some pretty serious privacy violations. Starting in 2014, Vizio has sold Internet-connected TVs that track what the customers watch and send that data back to its servers.
A little while after LG's announcement that it would add Google Home compatibility to its Music Flow line, Vizio steps up and makes a similar announcement for its SmartCast series of connected speakers, displays, and the like. This will add the strength of voice control to Chromecast-ready devices like the Crave 360 and Pro speakers.
If you've been waiting to "smart" up your home theater's audio, Vizio may have just given you incentive to pull the trigger on a purchase with its new SmartCast sound bar collection, launched today. They start at just a paltry $180 for the basic 38" three-driver sound bar and go all the way up to $500 for fully-equipped 5.1 systems. What makes them smart? Well, they're Google Cast enabled right out of the box, meaning you can cast audio to your Vizio SmartCast speakers just like a Chromecast, and that's pretty damn cool.
At launch, Vizio has nine configurations available, so there's probably a setup that fits in a price:performance:practicality bracket for you.
Vizio's P-Series 4K TVs* are about to get infinitely more Google-y. The new second generation models (P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display is the full name, but we'll gloss over that) come with Google Cast built-in, meaning a Chromecast or Cast-enabled set-top box isn't needed in order to cast over content.
There are four of them, all at different sizes and prices; 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch, ranging from $1,000 to $3,800. Note that Google Cast is different from Android TV - these TVs have no apps built-in, with all interaction being through Cast, same as when a Chromecast is plugged into a TV.
Vizio's pulled the curtains off two new Portable Smart Audio speakers that are powered by Android 4.4. What makes them special are the touchscreens embedded into the front of each device. Instead of having to pair them with a phone using Bluetooth, users will be free to stream music directly from the likes of Spotify and Pandora or enjoy video from Netflix or YouTube. Think of each version as a bulky tablet that doesn't need to rest in your lap, one with speakers that you won't leave you reaching for earbuds.
The Portable Smart Audio line doesn't have the most memorable name, but consumers will have two options to pick from once these land on store shelves.
If you like Nexus tablets, Vizio is gunning for your wallet. Today, the company announced a duo of tablets running stock Android. The first is most similar to the Nexus 10: a 10" display with the same retina-melting 2560x1600 resolution, only this one is powered by a Tegra 4 processor. Kal-El may not be a slouch, but let's be real. It's hard to not envy the 72 GPU cores that Wayne is packing.
Here are the known specs for the device:
10" 2560x1600 display
Tegra 4 SoC
Front & rear cameras
Mini USB (Yes, mini not micro; see center photo below)
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (model shown running 4.1)
As if that wasn't enough, the company also announced a direct Nexus 7 competitor.