Lately we're seeing this strange influx of inexpensive gaming set-top boxes that can also stream media. Additionally, we're seeing them all run Android for whatever reason, and each of them just feel cheap. Not even counting the OUYA, there have been a dozen or so other boxes that have been announced in the past eighteen months that all feel the same way. Now, Google is looking to get into that game and prays that you forget all about the Nexus Q.
In a world where we'll probably never see an actual cost-effective Steam Machine, NVIDIA launching some type of graphics-card powered device and the Fire TV, Google has come out with the Nexus Player, not to be confused with that weird-looking Nexus. Google's vision is to harness the success and popularity of the Chromecast and come up with a device that doesn't need a computer counter-part at all. Instead, the Nexus Player is sort of what you'd expect from every other set-top media device we've seen. Play games, stream content and use apps on a clunky, Android-based interface.
You get a remote, just like the others, to navigate through the menus, and if you want to actually game, you can pick up a controller for $39 to compliment the box, both made by ASUS. The slight difference here is that it will be the first-ever gadget to run Android TV, which was announced at Google I/O. A 1.8GHz four-core Atom processor runs alongside 1GB of RAM and 8GB of data space to power the Nexus Player, and it will double as a Chromecast, offering the same experience you've come to know through the $35 HDMI plug-in. Intel says the chipset is capable of pushing 1080p streaming with "console-like" graphics, but I'd be curious to see how accurate those statements will be in the real world.
For $99, the Nexus Player can be purchased on November 3rd when it launches, but you can already pre-order the thing should you want to. Adversely, you can spend the same amount for an Amazon Fire TV if you want, and you'll get pretty much the same features and experience, plus Prime Instant Video. Are any of these interesting to you? Do you have a smart TV instead? Or are you just using an Xbox 360 like the rest of us? Let us know in the comments below and click on the break to see the Nexus Player teaser video.