Smart TVs will be all the rage sooner or later or so says the company execs who have been pushing them for the past year. Most people seem to think that it won’t really take off until Apple makes a true Apple TV, but it’s still a pretty niche market for now. Vizio is taking a shot at that niche market with their newest device.
Vizio announced today the impending launch of the CO-Star. It’s a small device similar to the current Apple TV that turns any HDTV into a smart TV. It effectively beats what hurts smart TVs at the moment – their price and need to buy a new TV – by offering a small discreet box that offers all the best Google TV has to offer.
Alongside all the features that Google TV has, the CO-Star actually has a second function that makes it stand out from the bunch. It can connect directly to a satellite or cable set top box to deliver all the television you want from your cable provider, but also allowing you to switch over to the apps whenever you want.
Speaking of apps, the CO-Star has plenty of them. It features the usual suspects like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube and iHeartRadio. Surprisingly enough, the device is the first Google TV to offer the OnLive app. For those unfamiliar, OnLive is a service that allows gamers to stream PC games in all their glory directly to your TV without any additional hardware. Be sure to have a fast Internet connection and no data cap before using it though.
Of course, some people may be scoffing at the CO-Star calling it a mindless Apple TV ripoff. I would agree on the actual device, but it trumps Apple’s attempt in one key way – it has an actual remote. Apple fans hate to witness truth, but more buttons is sometimes a good thing. The CO-Star’s remote is a fully featured remote with all the buttons you could ever desire alongside a touchscreen for easy navigation for those who just hate buttons.
As for the innards of the device, it can stream full 1080p HD and 3D content. It only has Wi-Fi so you better bust out that router. It also features a USB port for hard drives, keyboards and other peripherals. It also features DLNA-integration for cameras, tablets and computers that support the protocol.
Best of all, the CO-Star will be directly competing with the Apple TV at a price of $99.99. Pre-orderes will go live in July and will offer free shipping for a limited time. No actual release date was announced, but I can’t imagine being long after they open pre-orders.