LAS VEGAS -- Google TV may not officially be dead, but it sure looks like it's evolving into something else.
Hisense is showing a nifty little set-top box at CES 2014 called the Pulse Pro, running software called "Android TV v4." It's not exactly Google TV, but it's clearly built on the same foundation, with the same PrimeTime Guide and the ability to run Google TV apps.
I haven't exactly been a Google TV fan in the past, but the Hisense Pulse Pro was impressive in the few minutes I spent playing with it. One of the biggest improvements is the home screen, which lays out your content choices in a much more straightforward way than standard Google TV software.
The real star of the Pulse Pro, however, is the remote. It's much simpler than your typical Google TV remote, focusing on being able to easy jump to the content you want rather than offering a full keyboard. The need to type on a keyboard is replaced by the built-in mic. Press the search button, speak into the remote's mic and it works within a few seconds. It worked well even on the noisy show room floor, which is more than you can say for the Xbox One.
There's also motion sensing in the remote, and while I'm often skeptical of "cursor on your TV" navigation, the Pulse Pro's pointer was very responsive. For those rare moments when you actually want to browse the Web on your TV, the remote will come in handy.
Hisense didn't have much more information available on Pulse Pro, but the placard in the company's booth indicated that the box will have the standard assortment of Google TV features, like an HDMI input, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The Pulse Pro doesn't solve all of Google TV's issues, but it's a step in the right direction and may be an indication of what the next-generation of Google TV will be.