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What is the Nexus Player? Google’s Lollipop-powered Chromecast and Android TV hybrid

Alongside a new Nexus phone and tablet, Google has unleashed its latest TV set-top box – the Google Nexus Player. 

Made by Asus, the Nexus Player is halfway between Android TV and Chromecast. Running Android 5.0 Lollipop, it’ll let you play Android games on your TV with a gamepad, search for movies, TV episodes and music and it’s Cast Ready, meaning anything you can do on Chromecast you should be able to do with the Nexus Player – including taking neverending psychedelic selfies

The Nexus Player is available to pre-order now, but no price has been announced yet. Until then, here’s everything you need to know. 

Enter the Nexus Player, the Asus-made set top... disc
Enter the Nexus Player, the Asus-made set top… disc

What will I be able to watch on Nexus Player?

It’s not yet known what UK services will be available on the Nexus Player once it launches. Given that it’s a Google Cast-compatible receiver – as is Chromecast – anything that works with Chromecast should work with the Nexus Player too. 

In the UK that’s BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Now TV, BT Sport, Pluto.TV, Blinkbox any many more. 

The Nexus Player is also an Android TV set-top box. This means you’ll also be able to get content from things like Prime Instant Video, All 4 (née 4oD) basically any on-demand service that’s available on Google Play. 

As there’s no TV tuners inside the Nexus Player you won’t be able to get any free to air digital TV channels – it’s not a set-top box in the Freeview sense of the word. 

Want to easily queue up a Kubrick marathon? Android TV is your friend
Want to easily queue up a Kubrick marathon? Android TV is your friend

How can I control the Nexus Player?

The Nexus Player will ship with a remote control that features basic controls – a directional key, back, menu a play/pause key and a button to enable voice functions like search.  

As we saw at Google I/O 2014, Android TV lets you search for content in a number of ways. You can choose to search by entering a number of key search terms. You can search by the title of the film or TV show you’re looking for, or search by actor or director if you’re after a 

What’s more, like Tank Top TV, Android TV will comb the on-demand libraries of multiple services, so if you’ve got Netflix, Prime Instant Video or Blinkbox and you say ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Halle Berry’ or ‘Big Lebowski’ you’ll get results from every service you subscribe to. 

You should even be able to throw in more obscure search terms too like ‘Toronto Film Festival Winners’ or ‘Academy Award Winning Actress 2013’ if you were after a bunch of films starring Jennifer Lawrence. 

As these searches are powered by Google, you should be able to throw in some really obscure terms like ‘guy who played Gary Glitter and was also in Star Wars’ and hopefully you’ll get a list of films starring this person

How does the Nexus Player stack up as a games machine?

Like Apple TV, Ouya and Amazon Fire TV box, the Nexus Player is a fully-fledged mini games console. 

High-end Android games like Chaos Rings, Need For Speed, NOVA 3 and others should run beautifully on the Nexus Player. Asus has crammed an 1.8GHz quad core Intel chip in there. There may only be 1GB of RAM, so on paper it’s not as powerful as phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8) both of which roll with 2GB of memory. 

But as it’s a TV and gaming device, you won’t multitask on the Nexus Player in the same way as you would on a phone – 1GB of RAM should suffice. The GPU is said to be a PowerVR Series 6 GPU which is designed to work on a wide range of devices. 

There’s a dedicated game pad which features two analogue sticks, a d-pad, four main buttons and four shoulder buttons – essentially identical to every game pad out there. 

Finally, you’ll be able to save achievements and challenge people to multiplayer matches through Google Play Games. 

Choose your weapon: You've got the choice of the basic remote or a fully fledged gamepad
Choose your weapon: You’ve got the choice of the basic remote or a fully fledged gamepad

How much is the Nexus Player?

You can pre-order the Nexus Player now but there’s no official word on price yet. Given that the Nexus Player is essentially Google’s answer to Apple TV and Fire TV, we expect that the price would be somewhere around the £80-100 mark. 

Nexus Player game pads are sold separately and are said to cost $39 which converts to roughly £24 at the time of writing. The remote control is included with the Nexus Player as standard. 

The full price for everything shouldn’t be anything more than £130 but we’ll update once we have a confirmed price. 

Google Nexus Player Specifications

  • WiFi: 802.11 AC 2×2 (MIMO)
  • Connections: HDMI out 
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Quad Core, Intel® Atom™
  • RAM: 1GB

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