Vizio, a company best known for its low-cost HDTVs, is looking to expand into another new market: It just announced the Co-Star, a Google TV set-top box that will be on sale in July for $99.99. In addition to the standard addition of video streaming services and Google TV functions, this new box will be distinguished by support for OnLive’s streaming gaming service.
The Co-Star offers support for 1080p video over HDMI, 802.11n wireless, a USB port for storage and peripherals, and a Bluetooth remote control has a QWERTY keyboard on the back. In addition to OnLive, it supports the standard complement of streaming video services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. Being a Google TV product, it also features a full Flash-compatible Google Chrome browser, and Vizio also has support for DLNA streaming media servers.
The presence of OnLive on this new box is an interesting choice for the gaming company, as at $99 it matches the price of the company’s own OnLive MicroConsole, which doesn’t include Google TV’s browsing and streaming video capabilities. The MicroConsole comes with its own gamepad, but it’s available separately for $49.99 and should be compatible with the Co-Star.
This news comes on the heels of Sony’s next-generation Google TV boxes – the NSZ-GS7 and Blu-ray toting NGZ-GP9 – for streaming only – but at $199 and $299 respectively, the Co-Star undercuts them both in terms of price . All of these newer Google TV devices are cheaper than first-generation devices like the Logitech Revue, thanks in part to their new ARM processors, but some of Google TV’s innate problems (including the lack of buy-in from the cable companies) continue to exist.