Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Vizio Co-Star uses Google TV. This works in its favor in some respects, but Google TV has a few bugs to work out. There is a tendency toward the occasional system crash and freezing app. But, it works reliably enough to enjoy streaming content.
The other issue is that major services like Google Music, HBO Go, MLB.TV, Spotify, even Google's own TV and Movie rental service have been blocked; therefore, it's missing dedicated apps. The Amazon button on the remote simply takes you to Amazon.com in the Chrome browser.
The Vizio Co-Star looks very much like many home media servers – it's a small black box that connects to your TV via your cable box. It enhances your cable-watching experience by joining your cable content and that of the internet into a single interface, powered by Google. Since the cable and Vizio box share the same HDMI input, you don't have to switch inputs when you toggle between live TV and Vizio's apps and services.
Google TV has come a long way and the Vizio Co-Star works well. It's compatible with resolutions up to 1080p, but the network connection often determines the real quality of the picture. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and supports 3D playback.
The remote is clunkier than the remote included with other media servers. The main buttons, like play, pause, fast forward, and rewind, are too small and located in a non-intuitive location above the touchpad. The QWERTY keyboard on the back helps you navigate through Google TV's many features, and has a directional pad on the left and ABXY game buttons on the right for use with the online streaming game service.
As for connections, the Vizio Co-Star has both HDMI input and output, USB and Ethernet ports and a power cord holder in the back. These ports will allow you to access some of your personal media files.
Vizio's customer support is somewhat limited. They can only be reached by phone or email, but the company's website has FAQs and user manuals online.
The Vizio Co-Star home media player provides a wealth of web content on your TV. While it has a way to go before it truly competes with the best home media servers on the market, it's still a decent streaming device. It's certainly worth considering.