Vizio debuts $99 Co-Star streaming box with Google TV, OnLive gaming

Vizio debuts $99 Google TV-enabled Co-Star boxThe battle for the next generation of television content delivery ticked up a few degrees today with Vizio’s debut of the new Co-Star box, which promises to “turn any HDTV into the ultimate smart TV.”

Of course, that’s just some typical PR jargon — but it could actually be fairly accurate. The Co-Star comes loaded with Google TV (and all its video and Web-browsing benefits), as well as apps like Netflix, iHeartRadio, and Amazon Instant Video. On top of all that — which, aside from the Google TV part, is completely standard in boxes like this — the Co-Star also includes a unique addition: OnLive, the streaming video game service, which allows users to play games on the cloud.

“Our focus to deliver the best consumer experience continues with today’s announcement of the Co-Star, which delivers a superior smart TV interface that anyone can add to their existing HDTV,” said Matt McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer in a statement. “We combined the powerful features of Google TV with an intuitive and easy to use interface, giving users the power to enjoy an entire world of entertainment.”

Again, more PR jargon. But this time, all we can do is hope that McRae is right; these types of video streaming boxes live or die on their user interface (and their price, of course). If the Co-Star’s UI is easy to navigate, intuitive, and more-or-less free of bugs, then it should do well. And at just $99, the price is certainly right. (Though we can still see buyers in this market going for the tried-and-true Roku box, which starts at just $50, and tops out at $100 — but doesn’t include Google TV, which could be a deal-breaker.)

As far as technical specs go, the Co-Star touches on all the right notes: support for 1080p HD and 3D video, built-in Wi-Fi, and USB port (to connect hard drives, keyboards, etc). The Co-Star also comes with a Bluetooth universal remote with touchpad, and a full QWERTY keyboard.

Release date has not yet been announced.

Product Review

For picture quality on a budget, Vizio's new P-Series is absolutely unbeatable

Vizio’s P-Series TV line has always been the best among the brand’s long run of budget-friendly TVs, but this year’s model has really stepped up. While the competition is also improving, Vizio’s latest P-Series keeps the brand among…
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Lucky for you stone-dwellers, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Apple Music recommendations could get superpowers thanks to latest acquisition

Following the approval of its Shazam acquisition, a new report has surfaced saying that Apple has acquired music analytics firm Asaii, with its founders now members of the Apple Music team.
Home Theater

Google Translate busts out of Pixel jail, now works on any Assistant headphones

The best feature of Google’s Pixel Buds was the built-in real-time translation. Now that incredibly useful feature is available on any headphones that feature Google Assistant integration.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
Deals

One of the best noise-canceling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 25, is on sale

The Bose QuietComfort 25 rank among the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, but they're not cheap with a sticker price of $200. Now, you can score a pair for just $140 from Rakuten for a limited time, the best deal since Prime…
Movies & TV

Latest 'Daredevil' season 3 preview puts the spotlight on Wilson Fisk

Season 3 of Daredevil will premiere October 19 on Netflix, so here is everything we know about the next set of adventures featuring Marvel Comics' man without fear before the third season's debut.
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.