Next up for Sling TV: A half-price Nexus Player promo

Sling TV really would like you to try its new internet-based TV service, and it’s even willing to chip in for your streaming player. The company announced a promotion featuring devices from Roku and Amazon Thursday, shipping free Roku streaming sticks or Fire TV sticks to new customers who elect to pre-pay for three months of Sling TV service. Alternatively, users could opt to get a Roku 3 or Fire TV streaming box for 50 percent off.

But that’s not all. Sling TV is also getting ready to launch a similar promotion with Google’s Nexus Player, the Android TV-based streaming device that Google unveiled last November. Sling TV customers will be able to get the Nexus Player 50 percent off as well, which brings the price down to $50. The Nexus Player promotion hasn’t been officially announced yet, but is already listed on a subsection of Sling’s website.

sling tv nexus player promo

Already teased, but not yet live: Sling TV’s Nexus Player promotion.

However, don’t get too excited just yet: The site doesn’t actually let you order the price-reduced Nexus Player just yet, for a reason. There’s one more thing that Sling TV has to do before it actually goes live with the Nexus Player promotion: Launch an Android TV-compatible app. As of now, Nexus Player support is still listed as “coming soon.”

Google to release Nexus Player in Japan next month

Google’s Nexus Player won’t be exclusive to North America for much longer: The device will start selling in Japan next month, and other international rollouts may not be far behind. Google announced in a blog post Thursday that it will sell the Nexus Player for JPY12,800 (about $109) at the end of February. Local apps for the device will include Hulu Plus, Videomarket.jp as well as Google’s own YouTube and Google Play Movies services.

Up until now, the Nexus Player has only been available in the U.S. and Canada. Google first launched the device on its Google Play store in November, and made it available in stores like Best Buy and Walmart earlier this week.

Google hasn’t said where the Nexus Player will launch next, but Europe would be an obvious choice: The company has struck a number of alliances with local TV and internet operators to build Android TV-based set-top boxes in Europe, and Philips / AOC is about to introduce its Android TV-based TV sets across the continent as well, which should both get local content services to build Android TV-compatible apps.

For a detailed look at the Nexus Player’s Android TV platform, check the video below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg4qaq2mteU]

It’s official: Google’s Nexus Player now available in stores

Google’s Nexus Player has arrived in stores: Starting this week, the Android TV-based streaming box is being sold by Best Buy, Fry’s and Walmart, as well as on the websites of Amazon, NewEgg, Staples and TigerDirect, according to a Google+ post penned by Google’s Nexus team. Of course, that’s not a big surprise to Gigaom readers: I reported last week that a move to take the Nexus Player to retailers was imminent.

Google’s Nexus Player Android TV streaming box about to go retail

It looks like Google is about to bring its Nexus Player streaming box to some online and brick-and-mortar retailers within the next few days: The Nexus Player as well as the optional Nexus Player gamepad, both of which are being manufactured by Asus, started to appear on Newegg’s website. The online electronics retailer still lists both as unavailable, with a release date of January 25.

nexus player at newegg

Newegg will sell the Nexus Player for $99.99, and the gamepad for $39.99, which is what Google is charging customers on Google Play as well. But it looks like Newegg won’t be the only retailer to sell the Android TV streaming box: On Reddit, two users are reporting that they have seen the device at their local Walmart. The Walmart website doesn’t list the player just yet, but it’s likely that it will make an appearance there within the next few days as well.

Google officially announced the Nexus Player in October, and started selling it through Google Play in November.  At CES, Razer showed off its own Android TV-powered streaming box, and Huawei has announced that it is going to make an Android TV streaming player while Sony, Sharp and TP Vision are all getting ready to sell TV sets powered by Android TV in the coming months.

I recently recorded a video of the Android TV experience on a Nexus Player — check it out below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg4qaq2mteU]

First look video: VLC is coming to Android TV

The popular media player app VLC is coming to Android TV: VLC developers have released a preview version that already looks pretty neat — here’s a first look.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXnvlAh41Q]

Show notes for this episode:

Is VLC on Android TV a game changer, or just a nice add-on? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Tablo is building a beautiful Roku app for its cord-cutting DVR

Thought all Roku apps look the same? Think again: Tablo is getting ready to launch a beautiful new Roku app for its DVR for cord cutters that doesn’t look like any of the old-school Roku apps you still see a lot on that platform. Tablo previewed the new app at the Pepcom Digital Experience event at CES in Las Vegas on Monday night, and Grant Hall, CEO of Tablo maker Nuvyyo, told me that he hopes to have the app ready before the end of this quarter.

Tablo's new Roku app.

Tablo’s new Roku app

A detail that developers will appreciate: Tablo is building this new app with Brightscript, Roku’s own scripting language. Roku has only allowed a small number of hand-selected partners to use HTML5 for their apps, and making visually stunning apps has proven to be a bit harder with Brightscript than it would be with HTML5.

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Tablo also showed off a great-looking new app for Android TV and Fire TV at CES. Hall said that app will be available even before the Roku app.

Tablo's new app for Android TV and Fire TV.

Tablo’s new app for Android TV and Fire TV

Finally, the company showed its new Tablo Metro DVR, which comes with tiny built-in antennas that are able to pick up HD TV broadcast signals in metropolitan areas where a big external antenna isn’t necessary. It’s a little bit like Aereo’s dime-sized antennas, albeit with a slightly different technology, and for the DVR in your home.

Those star-shaped patterns are tiny TV antennas.

Those star-shaped patterns are tiny TV antennas.

Tablo is currently only selling its DVRs online, but Hall said the company may start selling them in retail stores later this year.

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Sony, Sharp and TP Vision get ready to sell Android TVs

Half a year after being announced at Google I/O, Android TV is picking up steam: Sony, Sharp and TP Vision will all start to ship Android TV-powered TV sets this spring, Google announced at CES in Las Vegas Tuesday. And Razer officially introduced its micro-console at the show, which the company had first announced at I/O as well. The $100 device ($150 if you buy it with a controller) combines Android TV with the ability to stream games from your PC.