Hisense Pulse: Google TV Gets it’s Fifth Partner
A few days back, Hisense USA had let it out that it was working on a new set-top box called the Hisense Pulse, in collaboration with Google TV. We recently got a first look as it was unveiled at IFA 2012 in Berlin. This is Google’s fifth tie-up with a eperate company for its Google TV platform, after having collaborated with brands such as Sony and Vizio before.
The announcement comes close at the heels of Vizio Co-Star, another Google collaboration and is to be priced at ‘under $99’, same as Vizio and rival Apple’s Apple TV. The set-top box is slated to be released somewhere around mid-November in the US and early 2013 in Europe.
Weighing at just 1.5 pounds, this box is pretty small and similar to the Roku, with dimensions of 4.5 by 1.5 square inches. It has all the standard ports: one USB port on the side, and the HDMI, Ethernet, power source sockets and an IR Blaster in the rear. It’s also included with a built-in Wi-Fi for those who don’t have a close Ethernet connection. The hardware has a glossy plastic look, which is expected because of the low price tag.
The remote, similar to that of Vizio Co-Star, is double sided with one side having a full fledged qwerty keypad and the other having standard navigation buttons. The keys are conveniently spaced and this makes typing easy. Another interesting feature is the dedicated buttons for Netflix and YouTube.
This side also has a touch sensitive tracking pad, though because of it’s smaller size, navigation in the touch-pad is not seamless and scrolling can be tedious. We can expect a better version when the product officially hits the US shores in November.
The Hisense Pulse is compatible with all types of Google products and has in-built features such as Google Play, Chrome, YouTube and of course, Search. This is quite useful in browsing and streaming through the plethora of content online. It supports video qualities ranging from 480i to 1080p. It can also be used to play H.264, MPEG-4 and AVC formatted videos, thus in a way, covering all quality streaming formats.
The picture-in-picture and the picture-outside-picture feature allows you to multitask while surfing, networking or good-old viewing which is useful and pretty cool.
Easy access is available to apps through the Google Play feature. The dedicated buttons for YouTube and Netflix are well thought and can potentially make browsing even easier.
The performance of the Pulse is quite good. With easier controls and better graphics, the support this box packs in is a lot for just the $99 price tag.
Some issues encountered are similar to those in the Vizio Co-Star. It’s not flawless in navigation and lags can be encountered while browsing through menus. There might be some problem particularly with the integration of Google Chrome as it’s slow and lags when used.
Overall this small box packs in a lot of features and is great in working. With just the prototype released now, the problems encountered will hopefully be sorted out before its American release.
We here at Home System Integration are firm believers in the GoogleTV platform as it has brought a ton of innovation in how it truly integrates GoogleTV with your Cable / Satellite service instead of having to switch over to a separate box to use it like with the Roku / Apple TV