updated 06:00 pm EST, Sun December 8, 2013
Google said to prep set-top box
Google may be preparing to release a Nexus-branded set-top box, according to new reports. This according to The Information, which claims that the search giant is planning to release an Android-powered set-top box in the next year. The move would mark an even stronger move into television for Google, and likely a full rework of its previous efforts to conquer that segment.
Google reportedly will integrate a camera into the set-top box, allowing users to participate in Google Hangouts video chats from the comfort of their couch. According to The Information, though, the box will not support live television broadcast. That will allow Google to avoid going through the process of licensing content for distribution on the "Nexus TV." Instead, users would likely stream content through Google's existing Play Store or through compatible apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go.
The newest reports are largely in line with earlier reports from other outlets that Google was planning to enter the set-top segment with a device of its own. Earlier in the year, The Wall Street Journal pointed to a possible Google media player similar to the company's failed Nexus Q device.
Other reports have had Google close to abandoning the Google TV brand, as that effort has consistently underperformed. Instead, Google may rebrand its efforts under the Android TV label, leveraging the brand image of its Android platform.
A launch window for the device is as yet unknown, but some believe Google could release it as early as the first half of 2014. Reportedly, the device would be "aggressively priced," meaning that it might compete with the Apple TV's $99 price point. The Information does note, though, that Google may release it at its next Google I/O event.