After being unceremoniously abandoned by key hardware partner Logitech last fall, the Google TV platform seems to have found a worthy replacement in Vizio.
The Co-Star is Vizio’s first venture into the set-top box space. It offers the full Google-curated complement of streaming options, plus live TV integration, the ability to install apps from Google Play, and compatibility with Bluetooth accessories and other peripherals. The little $100 box packs enough might to handle 1080p HD streams and files, but content options in Google TV are lacking, and the Co-Star can’t compete with more full-grown streaming set-ups like those from Apple and Roku. If you’re sold on Google TV, however, Vizio’s device is half the price of the other Google box on the market, the $200 Sony NSZ-GS7, and it’s a great cost-saving alternative.
The 4.2-inch square black case looks like a cross between a hockey puck and a coaster. On the back are HDMI ports (in and out), Ethernet, and a USB port. Inside are radios for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Update, Oct 2: This review was updated to clarify the availability of streaming content options, and to provide further detail about available audio-out options.