Google is reportedly working on a set-top box similar to devices such as Roku and Apple TV, according to the WSJ. Sources close to the search giant’s plans claim the company privately showed off a device back at CES in January, but the project was only in the prototype phase. An earlier report claimed Google was approaching media companies in an attempt to license content for an upcoming Internet TV service.
The news comes in hot after Google’s latest streaming device, Chromecast, which allows users to beam content from their mobile device to an HDTV. The mysterious device supposedly runs Android, and will use video conferencing—probably Hangouts—as a core feature; additional features apparently include a video camera and motion sensor.
Many competing companies have made TV a priority—or at least that’s what the rumor mill claims—with even Intel jumping into the fray with some sort of on-demand service. Apple, too, is reportedly preparing some type of streaming service that could allow users to skip commercials. Google has tried entering the TV market before, but has so far had limited success.
According to someone who saw Google’s mysterious set-top box in action, the device has the ability to stream YouTube videos, play shows and movies from Google Play, and access Android apps. The WSJ reiterates this is not the Chromecast, even though the little $35 dongle is capable of doing such things. Google apparently had plans to unveil something at Google I/O, but decided against it for reasons unknown.
It sounds to us like the project was eventually watered down into the Chromecast, though Google could still be planning something else for your living room. The company is constantly working on things in its labs, so we’ll see if anything materializes in the coming months.