CNET First Look
Google Nexus Player not mature enough to competeThe $99 streaming video puck, the first device to run Google's Android TV operating system, can't match the app selection and access to popular media platforms offered by Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
[MUSIC] Hi everybody. This is Google's Nexus Player. This is the latest in the long line of little boxes that sit under your TV and stream video and audio. The Nexus Player is a brand new product from Google that is the first to run Android TV, which is Google's latest [UNKNOWN] into the living room. Android TV says it's gonna have a lot more apps than it has right now and it's gonna open up to developers and get a lot stuff going, but right now, it's in the early stages and we really can't recommend it to anybody. The Nexus Player is priced pretty much the same as the Apple TVs, Rokus and Amazon's Fire TVs of the world but it's simply less capable. The only native apps on here of Note includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and of course Google's own service. You can actually expect more apps to be coming in the future including HBO Go, NFL Now and others. But Google hasn't made any announcements to those specifics. You can however gets apps like that on to this screen using this device with a concept similar to what Google's Chromecast has. It's called Google Pass. You pull out your device which includes a tablet or a phone, press the little cast button on an app and it'll show up on the screen so that's a nice workaround to having not very many native apps. Of course you can do that thing with a lot of other devices including the 35 dollar Chrome cast, Roku and others. Another downside to this device at least right now is its interface actually pushes those Google services toward you pretty hard. Compared to services like Amazon or Apple's iTunes, not too many people use Google to buy their TV shows and me, movies. Android TV seems to want to change that with an interface that pushes you towards those services. For example, if you search on this box using a voice search or a text search, the results are mainly gonna come from Google services. Again, that might change in the future as more apps are developed and better hooks are integrated into those apps. But right now, the interface seems very Google-centric. Google is also promising compatibility with games and you can buy a separate controller that works with this device. Although only a few games are available right now. On the hardware side, the Nexus player has pretty good specs, although it's connectivity is a little bit sparse, there's no Ethernet or analog connection, although you do get the latest generation of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. One of the stand out features is Voice Search which works a little bit like Google Now. You can speak in to the microphone and get a lot of good search results that actually did a very good job of recognizing our voices. On the down side that search doesn't hit very many services right now so the results are going to be very Google centric or YouTube. So all told, the Nexus player shows plenty of promise with Android T.V. But right now it's really not recommendable compared to the giants of the streaming world. That's a quick look at the Nexus Player with Android TV. I'm David Kassmeier for CNN. [MUSIC]