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Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by mschnebly, Jun 20, 2020.
Google permanently drops price of Chromecast to $29.99 and what it means for the Chromecast line
Yeah, looks like this may be the year when Google turns their attention back to TV-connected streamers and gets serious about taking on Roku and Amazon. Their upcoming Android TV dongle (code-named Sabrina, but probably to be branded as Google Nest TV) looks nice, and so does the redesigned UI that will reportedly come with it.
I had been anticipating that Google would price it at $69, the same as the current Chromecast Ultra which it will almost certainly replace. But they may have to price it lower to be competitive with other Android TV devices (not to mention comparably equipped Roku and Amazon sticks that regularly sell for $50). The forthcoming Mi TV Stick from Xiaomi looks like it'll have about the same specs as Sabrina (although the latter will support Dolby Vision and the former apparently won't) and will sell for about $45. The TiVo Stream 4K, of course, sells for $50 right now but will supposedly jump to a regular price of $70 soon. (I don't think they'll be able to do that though.)
At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to see Google price their forthcoming device at $60, with lower sale prices available around the holidays.
lol. Very serious. $5 price drop. They got everyone shaking in their boots.
Google has a bad track record with hardware. Most people will gladly take Fire TV and Roku over Google's devices. Android TV's strength is in built in TV apps. Separate devices just don't sell beyond hobbyists/geeks. It's becoming an Amazon world, hang on.
Google has never really actively marketed their own Android TV device. (There was the Nexus Player that they co-produced with Asus back in 2014 but it was more an experiment/developer device than a real attempt to compete in the marketplace.) The only TV streaming device they've ever really pushed against Roku and Fire TV has been the Chromecast, which doesn't have a remote control or its own on-screen UI, so it's not exactly a direct competitor. Still though, the Chromecast has been pretty successful.
It'll be interesting to see how well Google's forthcoming Android TV dongle sells. That will largely come down to how low it's priced. Not that many folks are willing to spend well over $100 on a streamer like the Apple TV or Nvidia Shield Android TV when you can get a 4K HDR stick with voice remote from Roku or Amazon for just $50. If Google comes out with something priced not too far above there, and with a nice clean ad-free UI, built-in Google Assistant, and built-in Chromecast capability to work with apps on iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets, I can see it racking up decent sales. (And, of course, if it comes out while Roku and Fire TV still lack the HBO Max app, that would help it even more. Google should strike a deal with HBO Max to include a free month or two with purchase of the device.)
As for separate streaming devices not selling, I don't think that's true. I seem to recall stats claiming that quite a bit more streaming is done via connected devices than built-in smart TV apps. Although as smart TV software improves, maybe that's changing. That helps Roku far more than Amazon, though. Very few smart TVs use Fire TV as their built-in OS and the few that do are pretty much cheap low-end ones.
Smart TVs have one big problem: The manufacturers get bored with updating the software and the apps get tired and old. So you can buy a whole new TV, or you can spend far less money on a streaming device and get the latest apps. I wish they'd just cut the price of TVs and not bother with the "smarts".
I pretty much agree with you, although I don't think it would make the TVs any less expensive if they cut out the smart platform. I think the TV manufacturers actually make money from including that, by collecting and selling data about your usage patterns, selling targeted ads for you to watch, as well as taking a cut of subscription sign-ups made through apps on their platform. So cutting out the smarts might actually make them more expensive.
The TCL Roku TVs are the exception to the rule. TCL has so sweetly integrated the Roku function that both the tv and the streamer are better.
Yeah, I can believe that, based on what I've read. (I've never owned or used a TCL Roku TV.) Interestingly, TCL is now also using Google's Android TV as the smart platform for some of their new models, including some TVs for sale here in the USA. Sony also uses Android TV, as do a few lower-end brands.
I remember reading an interview with the head of Roku a year or more ago in which he stated that smart TVs would eventually all run either Roku or Android TV. He may be right. Although Samsung has a pretty powerful presence, with a lot of well-supported apps and a well-regarded smart platform of their own. I'd say the jury is out whether LG's smart TV platform survives long-term, though...
The 'value add' of TCL is mostly for OTA'ers. If you plug a 16GB stick into the USB port, it does trick play. I believe the buffer is two hours. This is much more awesome than you can imagine. They also have a very nice grid style grid guide that gets its data OTA (PSIP).
I have my eye on this 75" series 8 set...
which clearly has the Roku apps and continues to include trickplay and PSIP according to the manual...
This has been a little over 2K at Best Buy and I would be willing to camp out with a mask to get it for less come Black Friday ;-)
Big fan of these sets -- despite my contempt for the Roku company.
If Google comes out with the new Android TV/Chromecast dongle for say $60 I can see that selling very well. Since they make Android and can play by whatever rules they want with it, it might be pretty nice. If it works as smoothly as NVidia Shield and they had some spiffy new UI I'd buy one.
One of the things I find irritating with the Tivo 4k is when I go into My Shows to find something to watch, I cant tell the difference between pay and free without opening a movie up. What about a small "tag" on the movie posters for the free ones? Maybe a simple fix is 2 separate folders? I know that defeats the idea of "all in one place" but... Throw in some improvements with the Live Channels and it might be pretty darn good. Little things like this on the new Google device might drive buyers. Tivo could do all this but they don't move fast enough.
Have you seen the leaked screenshots from Google's internal marketing presentation they put together for this new device last fall? Very nicely designed UI, IMO. Looks like they studied the new Apple TV app on the Apple TV box, made a few improvements, and decided to use that as the home screen for their new device rather than have it segregated away in a separate app (like Apple TV chooses to do and like TiVo has to do on their Stream 4K).
The starting tab in the home screen is "For You" which features huge artwork previews of (I would guess) currently popular titles from various streaming apps. Given the "For You" moniker, I would hope that only apps/services that you currently have installed (or, even better, that you're currently subscribed to) would be featured. Although it's possible that this screen will also advertise titles from services you don't currently subscribe to, in an attempt to drive new subscriptions via Google Play.
Under all that is "Play Next," a unified watchlist that includes titles from a range of apps, even including Netflix (which is the only major app missing from the watchlist inside the Apple TV app). Per this recent Protocol article (the whole thing is a good read, BTW), Google is working to get apps to support this new content-oriented UI, including the Play Next watchlist feature.
Another tab of the home screen is named "Live." My guess is that it will be an updated version of Google's Live Channels app, except baked into the main UI. But unlike Live Channels, the Live tab will incorporate YouTube TV, making this device a natural choice for YTTV subscribers. I guess it's possible that's the only source of live channels that it will feature but, if so, I'd think they'd just name the tab "YouTube TV" rather than "Live". So I'm hoping that OTA channels from compatible tuners (e.g. HDHomeRun) and live streaming channels from apps that opt in (e.g. Pluto TV) will also be aggregated here, just as they currently are in the Live Channels app.
The Google Play Movies & TV app for Android mobile devices does this nicely. You tell it which of the major services you subscribe to (e.g. Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, etc.) and then it customizes the content it presents based on that. It does still include content that you can rent or buy but there's a little Free button you can click at the top and it will filter out all that stuff and only show you content from your current subscription services plus select free sources (e.g. Tubi). Since Google has already worked all that out for that app, hopefully they just build it into this new Android TV UI.
Now that's nice! It's great when a company actively works to make improvements that are really useful. Maybe Tivo can just re-badge this?
I thought you were joking about the $5 price drop on the Chromecast. SEems like a nothing burger.
The upcoming dongle with the remote might be attractive though especially for YTTV users.
Will be interesting to see if Google makes this new UI available to all Android TV devices (perhaps as part of an OS update) -- including the TiVo Stream 4K -- or if they keep it exclusive to their own upcoming dongle. My guess is that it might remain exclusive to their own dongle for awhile before they roll it out more broadly (sort of like new features for Android mobile debut on their own Pixel phones first).
Good news is that they will continue to make Roku televisions...
Looks like Android TV will debut in entry level televisions...