As Google TV gets ready to meet that big Web-TV heap in the sky, Smart TV manufacturers have actively begun to slink away from the moribund brand. To that end, Vizio has just introduced an $80 (and decidedly Google TV-free) set-top streaming device known as the Co-Star LT.
Last year, Vizio introduced a $100 set-top streamer known as the Co-Star that brought Google TV functionality to dumb TVs. The newly-unveiled Co-Star LT discards Google's Smart TV interface and will instead bring Vizio's proprietary HTML 5–based interface, Vizio Internet Apps Plus, to any HDTV with an HDMI port.
Apps Plus gives users access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, and more, as well as Hulu Plus, which refused to play nice with Google TV. Internet Apps Plus also give users access to the one-click send-to-TV options on Netflix and YouTube vis-a-vis Chromecast.
The Wi-Fi-enabled LT features both an HDMI input and output so existing cable and satellite TV services can flow through the box. It also has a USB port for simple playback from other external devices. In addition to its smart TV offerings, the Co-Star LT promises it will give users the ability to control content via their mobile devices as well as synchronized second-screen options. The Co-Star LT also supports full-screen app browsing and discovery for any HTML 5 apps, along with 1080p 'Full HD' and 3D content output.
The box is available on the Vizio site and will soon be available on Amazon, BestBuy, Target, and WalMart's sites.