Google on Wednesday officially unveiled the Nexus Player, the search giant’s latest push into your living room. This is much more robust than just a simple Chromecast dongle; Google is offering a full-on set-top box to go up against devices like the Fire TV and Apple TV, and it’ll be available for pre-order on Oct. 17.
The device itself looks like a thick coaster, or a projectile for disk golf. Like the Fire TV, it offers controller support for gaming, along with a handy little remote that offers voice search capabilities, though you can no doubt control the entire experience with your Android phone. Google hasn’t had much success in the living room, but the Nexus Player might finally crack the code.
As for features, the Nexus Player is Google Cast ready (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Chromebook), and offers a ton of apps right out of the box, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora and more. On the gaming side, the Gamepad looks pretty similar to an Xbox One controller (sold separate; price unknown), which Google says is “engineered for fine-tuned control of your favorite Android games. Google is always offering “free online multiplayer,” so you’ll be able to easily play games with friends.
Specs include a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, Bluetooth 4.1 support, 802.11ac 2×2 (MIMO) and HDMI out; users will get the Nexus Player, remote and power adapter right out of the box.
Google claims the voice search is one of the Nexus Player’s best features; just say, “Point Break,” and it’ll bring the Keanu Reeves classic up right away without you having to dig through your library. Additionally, all your content will sync across Android devices, so if you start watching something on your phone, you can pick it up on your TV, and vice versa.
Set-top boxes typically hover around the $99 range, and the Nexus Player is no different. Google is really late to the game, and one of the best things about the Chromecast is that it’s dirt cheap. Still, the Nexus Player sounds like a pretty enticing proposition, and we can’t wait to try it out. Pre-orders will be available starting Oct. 17.