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Vizio Co-Star: A Better, But Not Good, Google TV

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by CatfishRivers, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Vizio Costar: A Better, But Not Good, Google TV - Zatz Not Funny! (click for full article)

    Sept. 1, 2012 filed By Dave Zatz

    "As you may have gathered, Vizio, FedEx, and USPS have collectively been unable to deliver a Costar to the address I specified or fee-free as advertised. Fortunately (perhaps), our pals Scott Greczkowski of Satellite Guys and Chris Kapusta of The Game Corps have received shipment of second generation Google TV hardware. And while the form factor and pricing ($100) are both improved over first gen hardware, it seems the overall experience is still lacking."
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  2. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I know that there is another thread on this forum for user reviews and experiences with the Vizio Co-Star - but it's gotten quite long - so on this thread I'll just posts links to Co-Star reviews from media sources that have been published on other web sites. If you come across some Co-Star reviews please post them to this thread.


    Android Authority On Air - Episode 26 - Samsung vs Apple Verdict and Vizio CoStar Review



    From the article:

    "During this weeks show, we were joined by special guest Chris Hollis of Google TV Friends to help us with our Vizio Co-Star and Google TV review. As you may know, this week the $99 Google TV set top box started to arrive for those that pre-ordered. We go over initial impresses ions, setup and configuration, software/UI, and popular, must have Google TV apps."
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  3. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Vizio Co-Star Review: Hands-On With Vizio's New $99 Streaming Box - Dan Rayburn - StreamingMediaBlog.com (click for full article)

    Vizio Co-Star Review: Hands-On With Vizio's New $99 Streaming Box
    Dan Rayburn | Tuesday August 21, 2012 | 04:29 PM | 47 Comments

    "The market for streaming boxes just got a little more crowded with the release of Vizio's new $99 streaming media device, named the Co-Star. Joining the ranks of Roku, Apple, Western Digital, Sony and Netgear who already have $99 boxes in the market, Vizio's Co-Star device is being delivered this week, to those who pre-ordered from Vizio.com. I've been testing the box for the past two days, and overall, the box performs pretty well. [Updated: See part two of my Vizio Co-Star review, where I answered some of your questions.]"
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  4. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  5. CatfishRivers
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    Vizio Co-Star Review - Geek News Central (click for full article)

    "On the day that the Vizio Co-Star became available for pre-order I ordered one and it arrived late yesterday afternoon. It is small about the size of an Apple TV only thicker. The unit comes with a power cable, a remote, batteries for the remote and a quick start guide. HDMI cables are not included. ifixit did a tear down of the device and all the specs are available on their webisite


    The setup is fairly easily although there is some information you want to have in front of you. There are two HDMI inputs one to attach your cable box, if you have one, and the other one goes to your TV monitor. The Co-star has no sound output, so all the sound has to come from the monitor and what ever sound system that is attached to it. You are now ready to plug the Vizio Co-Star in. The Co-star has no on off button so you have to turn it on and off using the remote control.


    Once you have it turned on, it will take you thru the setup process. In order for the remote control to pair with your cable box you may need to input the make and model of the cable box. Although I was able to pair the remote with my Comcast cable box without having the model number. You can also pair the remote control with your TV, sound system and Blu-Ray Player. To do this you will need the make and model number for each."
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  6. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't get through the Zatz review, after calling the remote the first RF remote with qwerty keyboard and touchpad, claiming it can't stream from various sources, and complaining about having to pay return shipping. I have a Revue RF remote with qwerty keyboard and touchpad and that is a Bluetooth remote, not RF. Why not mention some of the various sources it allegedly can't stream from? Did the idiot whining about return shipping read the purchase terms before purchase? If the rest of the review is as screwed up as that is, good thing I didn't waste any more time reading it.
  7. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Also I went to YouTube to listen to the Android Authority review, boring and the host knows next to nothing about Google TV but there is one guy participating with some knowledge and overall it is positive but it was too boring and slow moving for me to listen to it all.

    I got tired of waiting for the crapfest of ads at the site the above link sends us to to watch the video from that site, but YouTube app search for "Android Authority 26" brought up the show quickly.
  8. davez
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    davez New Member

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    The point I was making is that this is the first time you can get a device with a remote like this *for $100 or less* to my knowledge - which is a selling point. Boxee is closer to $200, the old DISH DVR is whatever it was, etc. I seen several people complain about the return shipping and restock fees - I bring that up because it's much different process than buying something like a Roku or even a Revue (once upon a time) from Amazon or Best Buy when a device is buggy or not meeting expectations. It's their $100, I'll let them "whine". As far as sources, the WiFi on this device has been reported to be weaker than competing devices, mine never arrived so I can't confirm. But I know Scott had trouble with Netflix not working at all the first week he had it and was disappointed Amazon is SD only and via a webpage -- probably not Vizio or Google's fault, but it's their ecosystem that pays the price. Happy to answer more questions, but Scott is out of town at a wedding this weekend so it may be a few days.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  9. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I haven't personally used the Vizio Co-Star so I have no opinion of it either way. I'd rate my Logitech Revue about 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. It's nice with a few annoying glitches that I can live with. As for as these reviews I'm just posting stuff that I come across on the web. I have no particular agenda and I won't exclude reviews that might come across as too negative (or too positive) - just trying to be impartial and post what's out there. If you disagree strongly with some of the reviews that's fine - as it's interesting to read the opinions. If you find a review that you like please post the link for it.
  10. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for registering here, Google TV has been taking a beating for a couple of years from reviewers and I will be darned if more than a couple of them have taken the time to learn how to use the device before offering a scathing review. Google TV is complicated and clunky since its goals are grand, nothing like Roku or Apple TV which offer nice apps and very limited access to the web but are very simple to use. I will take Google TV any day, it can be mastered and is far more useful once that has been accomplished for the things I wanted from a streaming box.

    As far as return shipping costs, that is disclosed under terms of sale at the Vizio site. I certainly would never blame anybody for only buying from sellers that offer free returns, that is the consumer's option. Buying without knowing the terms, nobdoy to blame but yourself. I didn't purchase the Vizio Co-Star but my guess is it requires an acceptance of the terms that are clearly disclosed at the site, I just went there and it took me a minute to find the disclosure:



    I will let people owning the Co-Star discuss that product with you and I hope you can spend some time here to see what they say. I can discuss Google TV in general but I am able to make the first generation boxes I own work extremely well for my needs and therefore don't own a second generation box.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  11. davez
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    It'll be interesting to see how Vizio handles my "return" -- Vizio is shipping these units via FedEx Smartpost in which FedEx delivers it to your local post office and the USPS completes the delivery. To make a long story short, after 16 days working its way across the country the Costar arrived an at address I didn't want it delivered to and with "postage due". I spent over two hours on the phone this week with Vizio, FedEx, and USPS. Botton line is I can't get it delivered to the address I originally put in and the "free shipping" is not being honored. Vizio will not cancel my order or refund me until they get it back - I don't know when that'll happen and wonder if it'll trigger a restocking fee. While I wait, I've raised the issue with AmEx.

    Anyway, folks dealing with Vizio versus Amazon, Best Buy, or the Sony Store should be alerted to these sorts of things which are non-standard in my experience.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  12. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    You can't get it delivered to the address you originally put in? I don't understand what that means really, did you provide a bad address or did Vizio or Federal Express or the USPS make a mistake or did something else happen? Seller's or shipper's mistakes should not be on you, no question and there is nothing disclosed on the Vizio site that would indicate such mistakes are at the expense of buyer but I can't tell what happened really from what you have offered.
  13. CatfishRivers
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    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    I have never tried Fedex Smartpost - but just from what I've read about it I would personally prefer something like UPS ground shipping. I think the tracking would be better and requiring a signature would be a good idea. I've never had a single problem with a UPS shipment. I can't say the same thing about the post office.

    Vizio did clearly state that the Co-Star free shipping was for a limited time. They offered free shipping with the first batch of Co-Star pre-orders - after that they began charging the $10 fee for shipping. Unfortunately the first batch with the free shipping only lasted for one day.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  14. davez
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    It's a convoluted story which I was trying to keep simple, but probably raised more questions with that approach. We bought a new house but have significant overlap at our long term corporate housing. So I'm sort of using that apartment as a virtual office, as it's near work and they have a concierge that can accept and hold packages. I wanted the Co-star delivered there, but bringing USPS into the mix meant they didn't honor that address and tried to forward it to my new home address that they have on file. Somehow that triggered an additional fee that FedEx and Vizio are unwilling and unable to pay. Not to mention, both addresses are in Virginia but, courtesy the USPS, the Co-star was also diverted into West Virginia and North Carolina for who knows what reasons. Vizio says I can visit the post office and pay the fee or wait for FedEx and the USPS return the package. The fee is small in the scheme of things ($5.30), but getting this package out of North Carolina and not finding anyone at any of these companies that can route this to the address I requested or at least waive the fee irks me. I'd rather walk into my Sony Store and take care of business efficiently.

    I pre-ordered on day one.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  15. Labmanmi
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    Labmanmi New Member

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    hopefully Vizio will learn that smartpost is not really smart or at least offer other options as well.
  16. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    OK, well that is convoluted but I think I understand what happened, your forwarding order with the post office was honored and that triggered the fee. I believe there are terms associated with the forwarding order you issued to the USPS, understand those terms and I think you will understand the origin of the fee and why it is your responsibility to pay the fee. What happened is rather simple, you instructed Vizio to deliver the package to an address and instructed the USPS not to deliver packages to that address. I am certainly not an attorney but I have read a lot of contracts and in my opinion you can't enter into a contract, prevent the other party from fulfilling the contract at the agreed price then hold the other party responsible for the additional cost. This isn't an unusual situation with contracts, one side causes a costly delay by breach or error, the solution is to establish fault and the party responsible incurs the additional cost. Can you whine and get somebody else to pay the fee or have the package returned unclaimed and get a full refund? I don't know, possibly. If your position is you didn't know the USPS could be the shipper delivering the package, I don't know who could possibly be to blame for that lack of knowledge other than you, a reasonable person would assume that was a likely possibility.

    If it had been my mistake, I would pay the fee and move on.
  17. davez
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    davez New Member

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    No, not whining. Laying it out, AS requested. For me, it's about customer service, not contracts or fault. Here's the thing - I'll pay a 10% restocking fee before I pay the 5% delivery surcharge. Interestingly, both FedEx and Vizio were extremely shocked with USPS and said I should have not have been billed under any circumstance and also that it shouldn't be my responsibility. However, the various reps I spoke with were not empowered to do anything about it. Again, it took two hours on the phone just to get the package moving out of NC and back into Virginia, then to figure out what was happening with the fee when it arrived as even the players don't seem to understand Smartpost. I've invested enough time and didn't intend to stand in line at the post office on a Saturday. Also, by the by, no other mail the USPS has ever forwarded me has resulted in a charge. And I've moved several times over the last few years. Anyhow, it's not a big deal. But it is unusual.
  18. ChrisG8
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    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    I had hoped somebody owning a Co-Star would respond but nobody has yet so I will, Amazon is not SD only on Google TV as stated here, people read these false statements and believe them unfortunately. For whatever reason, reviewers frequently do this with Google TV don't check comments quoted from others or don't figure out for themselves, if I corrected every error I read, I would be really busy. I started streaming Amazon Prime in HD at 2.5Mbps using Google TV over a year ago, there wasn't a lot available at that time in HD. As far as other services, read the Amazon page for the truth.

    Amazon.com Help: Amazon Instant Video on Google TV
    Unfortunately no HD movie rentals or purchases yet using Google TV but I don't even know what that means, it only indicates you can't buy using Google TV. I haven't purchased or rented on a PC and tried to play with Google TV. My Amazon HD movie rentals have always been downloaded to TiVo to play but if I purchased on a PC, then played using Google TV, I don't know what would happen.

    So Scott was disappointed Amazon is SD only, I don't know what that means but again Amazon is not SD only for Google TV so I sure wouldn't repeat that statement. If his Co-Star had an issue and couldn't stream Amazon in HD, I believe someone here could help. I am sure a majority of Amazon programming is still in SD and if he checked a few and only found SD, maybe that would explain his disappointment but that is a complaint about Amazon's HD selection, nothing whatsoever to do with Google TV.
  19. davez
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    davez New Member

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    It could indeed be his Costar if the streaming quality, and inability to reliably stream other net content, are due to WiFi range issues as a few people have reported on AVS. By the by, both Scott and I also own Revues...
  20. Labmanmi
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    Labmanmi New Member

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    Your opinion of the co-star is your own your entitled to it I guess, I love my Co-star yes delivery sucked. It hasn't been perfect out of the box but that is common for new products. You can beta test something all you want but until it released to the masses you won't really test it. I've called customer service twice with 0 wait time. so far it's handled what I've thrown at just fine. We had two firmware updates so far, So I'm happy!
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012

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