Last summer Vizio launched the Co-Star, a set-top box sporting the second generation version of Google TV. The device sold out within 12 hours of becoming available, costing a mere $99.99. OnLive was even part of the scene, reporting that Vizio's gadget was one of the first to ship with OnLive's app already installed. Now a slightly cheaper "LT" version of Co-Star is available, and there's no sign of Google TV anywhere, relying on Vizio Internet App Plus instead.
This device is essentially for customers looking to turn their boring HDTV into a Smart TV, merging live TV with streaming entertainment into a new living room experience. As reported back in August, the Vizio Internet Apps Plus platform has been updated to support full screen app browsing, HTML5-based apps (meaning customers won't be required to download and install apps directly to the TV) and remote control features for compatible mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
This device serves as a pass-through layer for current cable and satellite TV subscribers, providing an HDMI input jack for the incoming cable/satellite TV set box, and an HDMI output jack for connecting the Vizio gadget to an HDTV. Thus, like most Smart TVs, users can access the Apps Plus platform and browse the library while live TV plays in a small on-screen window.
Vizio's set-top box connects to the network via Wi-Fi, and even provides smartphone and tablet second-screen interactivity. "Allowing users to seamlessly discover and play content from apps like YouTube or Netflix with a simple tap from the app on their smartphone or tablet, Vizio Internet Apps Plus enables a truly seamless multi-screen viewing experience," the company's press release states. "With this added convenience, users can easily lean forward on mobile devices to search for videos, then lean back to enjoy them on the big screen. Consumers can even easily transition from watching content on their TV back to their mobile device."
Back in August, Vizio said that the app launcher was repositioned to the bottom of the screen for better navigation and selection (aka more Android/iOS like). The update also supports new app entries including MGO, ESPN ScoreCenter and ESPN EXTRA. Current apps offered on the set-top box include Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Crackle, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Facebook, and many more.
The new Co-Star LT also comes with a USB port so that users can watch home videos, pictures and other media. This port can also be used for an optional USB-based Ethernet port for those who don't have a Wi-Fi network established (or the box is out of range). Other specs include Wireless N connectivity, HDMI 1.4 support, a max 1080p resolution, pass-through 3D support, and pass-through support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus & DTS Digital Sound.
To purchase the new Co-Star LT Stream Player, head here. Was this just another nail hammered into the Google TV coffin?