If you miss Google TV’s cable and satellite video integration, an upcoming Android TV box from Skipr could be the first suitable replacement.
When the first Google TV boxes arrived in 2010, a key feature was their ability to hook up your cable or satellite box via HDMI input. This allowed users to watch live TV and streaming video through the same interface, with added features like universal search across all video sources. The Google TV platform was a failure, however, dragged down by complicated software and expensive hardware.
Last year, Google pressed reset with a new living room platform called Android TV, while setting the old Google TV out to pasture. Android TV is a vast improvement thanks to its simpler interface and genuinely interesting hardware, but the current crop of set-top boxes lack HDMI passthrough. If you want cable and satellite integration, you’ll have to buy a new television with Android TV built-in.
Enter Skipr, a company that’s working on ad-skipping technology for live TV. As revealed last month, Skipr will recognize when a commercial comes on, and whisk you away to alternative programming, such as your local forecast, a screensaver, or music. You’ll then return to the original show automatically when the commercials are over.
Skipr plans to offer its services through an Android TV app, but it will only work with cable and satellite TV signals at first. That means you’ll need an Android TV device that accepts cable or satellite input. To that end, Skipr is building its own Android TV box with HDMI passthrough. The box will have 4K video support with a quad-core 2 GHz processor, ARM 8-Core graphics and 1 GB of RAM.
There’s no word on a price or release date for the hardware, though a Kickstarter campaign is planned for May or June.
Why this matters: We haven’t actually seen Skipr’s software or hardware in action, so it’s entirely possible that we’re looking at vaporware. But so far, Skipr is the only company promising to bring back Google TV’s cable and satellite features on a standalone set-top box. If you’re still lamenting Google TV’s death, Skipr is worth watching for those features alone.