2.05.2013

Vizio Co-Star Google TV Review

 
 
I got a $100 Amazon Gift Card for Christmas, it took me a few weeks but I decided that the Google TV Vizio Co-Star would be the next tech device that I would spend it on.  So here's my quick review.  It might be helpful to know that I am a heavy Google user, I have a Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean, and I use almost every Google Application that is made available.  If you are not familiar with the Co-Star check it out here.
 
My main goal with GoogleTV was to be able to stream movies off of my network drive to any of the TV's in my household.  Also it would be great to have Netflix and other apps available on those TVs as well as available when travelling.  Its small size would make it easy to pack on any vacation or trip and just plug into a TV at my destination.  The device has wireless and wired Internet capabilities, a USB expansion slot (which would be great for Thumb Drives and USB Hard Drives), and HDMI input/output slots.
 
The set up process took about 15 minutes after plugging it to the TV.  What made things easier was the the remote which has a QWERTY keyboard on the back.
 
What I liked:
  • The Remote
  • The Size of the device
  • Chrome Web Browser on the TV
  • Google Music App on the TV
  • The Netflix App
  • The device worked good plugged into the set top box or plugged directly into the TV
  • The interactive Google TV listings search App. 
What I didn't like:
  • The Vizio interface
  • The lack of GoogleTV Compatible Apps and Games in the Google Play Store
  • If I wanted to play any games on the device I needed to get a subscription to a gaming network application that was pre-installed on the device.
  • The lack of a good DLNA app for free.
  • The device seemed to get very hot after as little as 30 minutes of use
  • The Amazon Instant Video App really just took you to the Amazon Website
  • Vizio Bloatware on the device
  • I paid for one of the top rated DLNA apps for Google TV and it wouldn't stream some of my MP4's that streamed with no problem to my early generation LG SmartTV.  Waste of money.
In closing Google TV has great potential but didn't meet the expectations that I had for it.  I think some of the added Vizio related apps slowed down the device.  I wouldn't mind checking out a Nexus Google TV if they ever released one in the future.  The interactive TV listings (ON TV) app should become a standard interface on all Xfinity and Verizon boxes.  Its so much better looking at thumbnails in categories and seeing the progress bar to see how far along the show is.  The device getting really hot  with minimal usage was a bit discouraging, maybe I had a lemon.  Navigation was a bit slow compared to XBOX application/interface navigation, and much slower than my Android phone.  I returned the device 5 days after getting it.  I think I'm going to test out the Roku 2 XS next.