Google's Nexus Player begins shipping in the UK this week, and we can't wait for the media-streaming set-top box to arrive. Here's why. Updated 23/3/15. Also see: Nexus Player UK release date, price and specs.
1. Nexus Player makes dumb TVs smart
Rather than upgrading your existing TV, the Nexus Player lets you add Android TV to an older set. You are then able to access all your favourite Google apps, streaming music, media, games and more. All you need to add Google services to your dumb TV is an HDMI port and a Wi-Fi network. Also see: Best smart TVs 2015 and Best media streamers 2015.
2. Android TV brings together all of Google's content on the biggest screen in your home
Having won the platform battle on smartphone and tablet, Google is now turning its attention to the biggest screen in your home: the television. Android TV was announced at Google I/O in June last year and, although it's not strictly a 'new' platform, it brings everything we love about Android to our telly box.
3. Nexus Player is so much better than Chromecast
Chromecast is a cheap and cheerful solution for streaming content from your phone, tablet, laptop or PC to your TV, but it requires plugging in to a USB port or mains power (not all TVs support USB), connecting to your Wi-Fi network, and then you finding the content you want on your device and using that as your remote control. You're limited to apps built either for or with support for Chromecast, which you download to your phone or tablet, or casting your screen to the TV. There's no user interface for navigating your device; Chromecast is pretty much just the wireless alternative to an HDMI cable. Also see: Best Chromecast apps and Google Chromecast vs Nexus Player: What is the difference?
The Nexus Player is more expensive at £79, but less clunky. It's a proper entertainment centre with an interface that appears to be a custom version of Android Lollipop, offering personalised reccomendations and able to itself access the Google Play store to download apps, movies and more. It also comes with a dedicated remote that supports voice control, meaning it doesn't need to be paired with a mobile device.
And whereas the Chromecast is simply a streaming dongle, the Nexus Player has its own hardware built-in, including a 1.8GHz quad-core processor and PowerVR graphics, which should mean it can deliver a better entertainment experience.
4. Nexus Player lets you play Android games on your TV
Not only can you play all your favourite Android games on the big screen, then pick them up where you left off on your phone, but you can buy an Xbox-style controller that turns the Nexus Player into a games console. Game progress is synched across your devices, and an online multiplayer mode is supported.