Vizio first announced its Co-Star Stream Player set top at CES in January. The box is designed to add Smart TV functionality to any standard HDTV and is able to connect to a cable or satellite box so you can use it alongside your existing TBV setup via picture-in-picture technology.
The Co-Star has built-in wifi, DNLA support can do 1080p Full HD and 3D (with a compatible TV) and comes with a Bluetooth remote control that has a full QWERTY keyboard and tappable touchpad for easy web browsing and using Google TV apps. That touchpad may also come in handy for Vizio’s secret weapon – OnLive gaming. (although we imagine you will prefer a proper Bluetooth gamepad controller)
OnLive runs console games on centralised ‘farms’ of gaming hardware, then streams the visuals, sound FX and control information over the internet to subscribers. This lets you play real console games on your HDTV, but without an actual console. There are some caveats – you need a fast, reliable internet connection and not all games work perfectly without specialised controllers – but for the would-be gamer who doesn’t want to commit to buying one or both major consoles it could be just the thing.
The Co-Star Stream Player will be available for pre-order from July, with a US RRP of $99.