Shopping for the right Google TV can be hard, so we have decided to make a guide for all our readers! This guide will be updated and published 2-3 times a year, depending on how much things change. You can consider this your Google TV shopping guide for the end of Q1, 2013. Let’s jump right in.
Times are changing for Google TV. Google’s smart TV platform has recently been improved with GTV version 3, bringing forth a good deal of user-friendly upgrades and awesome features. Some of these include Voice Search, the new PrimeTime Quick Guide and the addition of apps like Amazon Instant Video and Vudu.
Devices are also becoming much more accessible, with both affordable and high-end units keeping the market alive. But which device is the right one for you?
Best Google TV device to get on a budget
Google TVs are becoming very affordable, and if you don’t have too much money to spare you have a few great options. On a budget, I would say the best Google TV device to get is the Sony NSZ-GS7 Internet Player with Google TV.
While Sony’s newest Google TV device was $200 at first, the price has gone down to about $170. Though this is still pretty high compared to devices like the VIZIO Co-Star and the Hisense Pulse (both $100), Sony’s contestant is a much more stable device and of much higher quality. This can be noticed by simply holding the remote – the device is really about the best Google TV set-top box and the price isn’t completely overkill.
However, if you don’t have those extra $70 to spare (or don’t find it worth that much more), you will do best with the VIZIO Co-Star. VIZIO has been great at keeping the Co-Star updated. It was one of the first to get the Google TV version 3 update, even beating some of the big guys (like Sony). To me, that is worth much more than Hisense’s arguably superior remote.
Money is not a problem?!
If you have a good amount of cash to spare, or want to make a good investment in a new Google TV, your best option right now is hands down the LG Google TV (47G2 or 55G2). These were the first to take advantage of all of GTV V3′s updates and new features, and LG is keeping a great relationship with Google.
As TV’s, these are also phenomenal. These large Google TVs offer an LED 1080p panel with 3D capabilities and a 120 Hz refresh rate. Not to mention they are very good-looking TVs. These are full TVs, so you won’t need an extra set-top box or anything, but the investment and commitment to Google TV is larger.
Google TV is embedded at the very heart of these LG Google TVs, and since they are not bad TVs, they come in a bit pricy… even if much more affordable than they were originally. The 47-inch version is going for $850 while the 55-inch monster will set you back $1012.
Should I wait instead?
All these devices are great options, but there is a little issue – the new generation is almost upon us. LG, for example, has announced their new LG Google TV sets for 2013. These come in 42, 47, 50, 55 and 60-inch versions, and they are expected to be much better than last year’s versions.
These LG Google TV sets will come with all of GTV version 3′s bells and whistles, and they are most likely going to lead the way into 2014, much like last year’s sets did for this year. Furthermore, we were told at CES that these would be available by March (this month!) at comparable prices to last year’s units. Those TVs costed a pretty penny – $1600 for the 47-inch version and $2100 for the 55-inch version.
However, if you can’t afford that, there are also more affordable devices coming. We are most excited about the ASUS Qube, which is a $130 set-top box set to be released around late Q1 (so, this month). This device brings a very interesting cube-inspired UI that will really set it apart from the competition.
Yes, this device will come with GTV V3 and have a microphone in the remote, so you will not be left behind with all those awesome new features. If you are looking to get a brand new Google TV and prefer a set-top box model, this is the one to wait for. Or you can be a traitor and go with Samsung’s upcoming Homesync, which is not a Google TV, but does run Android on TV.
Honestly, with two great devices said to be coming in less than a month, there is no reason not to wait right now. These TV units will come with refreshed specs and better compatibility, so future-proof yourself and wait a bit. If you guys have any suggestions or disagree with me, please let us know in the comments. We are always happy to hear what you guys think!