Vizio Co-Star Set Top Box
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With the Vizio Co-Star you can enhancing your existing HDTV to have thousands of apps via Google Play, Google's Chrome Web browser and the best in streaming entertainment. Its small size makes the Co-Star easy to fit in small places.

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WorldTVPC Rating: WorldTVPC Rating 3.0 (3.0)

Co-Star Video
Specifications

Inputs

HDMI In (Connects to Cable/Satellite Box) 1
HDMI Out (Connects to TV) 1
USB 1 (USB 2.0)

Features

Smart TV Platforms Google TV
App Store Google Play, Access to Thousands of apps
Web Browser Chrome Web Browser with Adobe Flash Player

Networking

WiFi Yes, 802.11n/g/b
Ethernet 10/100Mbps
Bluetooth Yes
Network Multimedia PlayPoint app lets you access media on DLNA-enabled network devices

Video

Resolution Supported 720p, 1080i, 1080p
3D Support Yes
Video Playback H.264, MP4, MKV
TV Compatibility Any high-definition TV with HDMI port

Audio

Music Playback MP3, AAC, WMA
Audio Features Up to 5.1 channels of surround sound pass-through

 

Vizio Co-Star: Review

Author: Steve Sanger - 18 Jan 2013

Pros


Very affordable
Easy to set up
Excellent video playback
   

Cons


Content is limited
Gaming services run better with an Ethernet cable
No audio connection
   

In this review


Introduction
Setup
Remote Control
Quality
Available Services
Verdict

Quick Verdict


Vizio Co-Star provides users with the Google TV experience at more than half the cost of other Google TV boxes.

 

Introduction

The Vizio Co-Star offers integration with live TV, the ability to install Google Play apps, and also Bluetooth support so other accessories can be used. It retails for $100 and outlets online and off. As small as this system is, it is capable of 1080p HD. Unfortunately; it provides options for Google TV that may be limiting for many users. Although this is an excellent piece of hardware, its lack of available content not allowing this system to compete with similar setups such as Apple or Roku. However, if you're in the market for a system that is compatible with Google TV, Vizio's Co-Star model is cheaper than other Google boxes. At only $100 is a steal compared to similar systems that sell for $200 and others that sell for $300. This system is extremely small at only 4.2 inches. The rear panel has ports for HDMI, Ethernet, and a USB port. It also supports WiFi connections.

Setup

Setting up the Vizio Co-Star will take approximately 30 minutes. Once everything is connected, the remote control has been integrated, and all settings have been optimized, it will be easy to further integrate this machine and with your cable or satellite box, DVD or Blu-Ray player, stereo systems, and other Internet devices. Unfortunately, this system has no audio connections unless your stereo system can accept HDMI. Because of this, you will have to rely on the speakers of your television set.

This system provides a Google TV interface that is approached much differently than its competitors. Where other systems will fill the screen with icons for applications, the menu used for Co-Star fills the space of approximately a quarter of your screen on a panel the flies out from the left-hand side. This system comes preloaded with several apps and services that can be started without needing to close the app that is currently running.

Remote Control

The Vizio Co-Star provides users with a remote-control for the system. There are a multitude of buttons located on this remote control. This unit has traditional remote control buttons, a touch based trackpad on one side, and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. Both sides of the remote contain navigation controls. Buttons for any purpose can be found on the rear of the remote control. The first time you pick up this remote control, it will feel like more buttons than what is needed. However, as you become comfortable with the unit you will begin to appreciate that every function has its own button. Some systems provide users with a minimal remote control that can be difficult to work with. Although the keyboard may be little hard to reach without some adjustment of your hands, it still works very well.

Quality

A Web browser is built into the system. Since this is a Google TV-based unit, Chrome is the browser use. It may seem as little awkward surfing the web at first, but the trackpad located on the remote control will make navigating a little bit easier. Playback quality for streaming content is directly related to the source the content comes from. For instance, if a YouTube user has uploaded a poor quality video it will play back poorly on your screen. However, higher quality YouTube videos look great. Overall, YouTube video streaming performs very well on this system with very few artifacts on the TV screen.

Available Services

Unfortunately, there are not as many available services with the Vizio Co-Star that you will find in other multimedia streamers. This is largely due because the only options are only those available in the Google Play store. Users will be able to make use of the Netflix service but Hulu Plus is not supported. Amazon Prime can be accessed through their web browser but there are no network television channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, or Comedy Central. These networks are currently blocked from the Google TV browser. However, those television networks can be accessed on this system through an off-line cable subscription as the system integrates very nicely with regular TV services. Another feature available with this system is online gaming. However, playback can be a little slow with a WiFi connection. Better results will be found with an Ethernet cable hookup.

Verdict

In terms of Google TV, the Vizio Co-Star streamer is an excellent choice as it is much cheaper than similar systems on the market with equal quality. However, the content available is much less than full-blown multimedia streamers such as Apple TV, Neo TV, or Roku systems. But if you are interested in pursuing Google TV, then this model is for you. However, if you are looking at this device as a means to eliminate your off-line cable subscription by using online subscription video services such as Netflix on your television screen, competing devices will be a better choice to invest in.

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