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CES 2013: Netgear and Asus to offer Google TV-powered streaming-media players

Consumer Reports News: January 09, 2013 02:38 PM

Google TV, which just a year ago looked like it was on life support, seems to be gaining some converts here at CES: Both Netgear and Asus announced new streaming-media players that use that platform to delivers video, apps, and other Web-based services.

Asus, which helped Google launch its ill-fated orb-like Nexus Q (which was pulled from the market almost immediately after its introduction, though we have one in our streaming-media lab), will be launching the aptly named Asus Qube. Netgear's box is the Neo TV Prime.

Like other Google TV boxes, they are meant to be placed between your TV service provider's receiver/DVR and your TV, so live TV is included when you search for TV shows, movies and other content. All Google TV devices use Google's Chrome browser.

The Neo TV Prime will offer all the Google TV features, including access to Google Play apps and voice search. Streaming services include Amazon, Crackle, HBO Go, Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody, and YouTube, and you can also play content stored on a flash drive.

The box supports both Flash and HTML 5 video. It comes with a dual-sided remote with a QWERTY keyboard on one side and touchpad and directional controls on the other. The Neo Prime will work off of AAA batteries as well as the usual power adapter. It costs $130 and is available now.

There's less info about the Asus Qube, which reminds me a bit of the original cube-shaped Boxee Box, though it lacks a bit of the Boxee's color. At this point, all we know is that the device will have a unique rotating three-dimensional interface, and it will come with 50GB of cloud-based storage, plus the usual assortment of streaming services, including Amazon and Netflix. The Qube will apparently support both gesture and voice commands. Pricing and availability weren't disclosed at CES.

In addition to these latest announcements, Google TV-powered set-top boxes are available from Hisense, Sony, and Vizio. And LG this week announced it was expanding its lineup of Google TV televisions in 2013.

Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.

James K. Willcox

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