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Costar vs. Sony GS7, hands-on

Discussion in 'Vizio Co-Star' started by ash1348, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. ash1348

    ash1348 New Member

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    After two weeks of using costar, I decided to get a Sony box and give it a test drive. My main reason was the lack of support for AC3 files on costar, since all my home videos on my network are AC3 files. Please don't take my comments as a bash, I like costar and despite my following comments I believe for the price point costar is a great device. Here are my thoughts:

    Look and feel: No question about it, Sony has much better built quality. It has more ports, and the power light in front of the unit. That light takes away all the frustration regarding the unit's on/off status. The unit is about twice as big as costar, although it is not as thick as costar.

    Remote: If I decide to keep the Sony box, it will be all because of the remote (assuming costar fixes AC3 issue). The remote is the main differentiating point between these two products. It looks better, the built quality is better, and it works better. There are some areas where costar remote wins. It is almost half the size, although it is wider. It has fewer keys, no shortcuts for apps, no dialer on the front, but it covers everything that you would expect from a universal/GTV remote. It has backlit, and an amazing pad with tactile feedback, so it never misses registering your push. There are only two draw backs, one, believe it or not, holding it is not as comfortable as holding costar remote. It has somehow sharp edges, and it is little too wide. The other problem is the directional key. It is not as smooth as costars (it is smaller) and since it is right above the pad, your tomb keeps touching the pad when you push the down directional key. One other difference is that the IR blasted is next to the box, rather than built-in like costar's. Everything else works the same as costar's remote.

    Setting it up was even easier than costar's; I didn't have to manually enter my DVR model, and few other things that made it easier. Also in order to get video pass through for my dvr, I can set the unit to standby and I don't have to keep it always on. The application layout is different; it is at the bottom of the screen, which feels like a more logical choice to me. Apps are almost identical. Few extra apps that none of them are that amazing. I found the software a little snappier. Streaming experience is almost identical; I have exactly the same problems with some of my files running from the network. Although it feels that with those files, I get slightly less buffering. The box also has a larger onboard memory, 8GB, vs 4GB on costar. Browsing and flash experience is identical. I didn't feel any difference. And most importantly, the box streams AC3 files with no problem what so ever. One major problem that I have with the Sony box is that my external USB hard drive is not working with Sony box. I had no problem using my hard drive with costar, so I have no idea why the hard drive is not working. Lastly, I get almost the same number of force close errors on Sony box. One app that I got few errors with was the live TV app.

    Overall, I like Sony's box, especially the remote, better. But I don't think that it is $100 (or 2x) better. They both do exactly the same thing, with a slightly different user experience. If Vizio fixes the AC3 issue, most probably I would keep it, only because of the cost. Sony's box is a great product, if costar was priced at $150, or Sony's box was priced at $150, I would have definitely choose Sony over costar, but with these price points, it is hard to justify buying Sony's box. I am going to keep them for another two weeks before my Vizio box's 30 days is over, and I will keep posting about my experience here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
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  2. chopper

    chopper Active Member

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    This might make this Sony worth the extra money? What if Sony came up with it's own version of the TV and Movies App to incorporate the following?



    I see this rolling out for the Xperia line but it would sure give a boost to the Sony GTV as would an App called Video Unlimited.
     
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  3. ChrisG8

    ChrisG8 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the first hand comparison, interesting. The Sony has 8GB of flash storage, the Vizio 4GB of flash storage. Both use the 1.2 GHz dual core Marvell Armada 1500 ARM processor.
     
  4. ash1348

    ash1348 New Member

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    that Sony application looks great, for sure supporting their products by better applications and device integration would justify the price. For now, there is no special sauce, lets hope both Vizio and Sony work on developing some good apps.
     
  5. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    The first GTV box that comes out with a nice optional full sized bluetooth keyboard will get my money. However I won't purchase a device now with the hope that a feature/accessory is added at a later date.

    If there is a third party GTV full keyboard made available that functions with both devices - I'll probably go with the Vizio Co-Star for the cost savings.

    Unfortunately I have no mobile phone to use as a GTV remote - nor do I have a Logitech unifying receiver or computer (to pair the Logitech Revue keyboard) - and I won't waste my time with that either.
     
  6. walleyetracker85

    walleyetracker85 New Member

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    So guys correct me if I'm wrong but gtv is no longer going to support flash correct. I would be buying gtv to watch sports on my tv from a website that uses flash. Trying to avoid having to sit in front of a computer screen and watching games. Thanks for the help guys
     
  7. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google TV currently supports Flash 10.2. Adobe announced that they are discontinuing future Flash update versions for mobile devices. (It was also mentioned that Adobe was lumping GTV into that mobile device category).

    Since mobile devices already have received Flash 11, there is still a chance that GTV eventually will get updated to Flash 11. But that would probably be the last Flash version update. GTV might very well continue to support the current Flash version (and Flash 11 for quite a while if we get it). Adobe said they will support the mobile versions of Flash already released with bug fixes.

    So the problem would be if your web site of interest updates to a Flash version that is no longer compatible with GTV. Also many web sites will be designing apps and video streams to work with HTML5 - and I'm sure that Google plans for GTV to support HTML5.
     
  8. ColmARocK

    ColmARocK New Member

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    Where that flash thing came from ? Flash will stop to release mobile version of flash, but GTV is not using the mobile version from what I know it's an adaptation of the PC version.
     
  9. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Yes, however I had read in an article that Adobe mentioned along with mobile devices they would no longer be developing new Flash versions for GTV. But like I said - GTV might still get Flash 11.

    Here ya go (it seems like there's always doubters until I post a link to support my claim) -:)

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/adobe-delivers-a-blow-to-google-tv-by-pulling-flash/
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
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  10. CatfishRivers

    CatfishRivers Well-Known Member

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    Google TV Tries Again With Sony, Vizio: Rich Jaroslovsky - Bloomberg (click for full article)

    By Rich Jaroslovsky - Sep 5, 2012 5:12 PM ET
    Bloomberg Opinion

    "In techno-slang, the first version of Google (GOOG) TV was what's known as an "epic fail."
    Consumers found the Google software, designed to bring the world of online video to the living room, utterly baffling. Poor Logitech, which made the original Google TV set-top boxes, ran screaming from the market last year, its CEO terming the launch "a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature."


    Now Google TV is back, with revamped software and hardware. I've been trying out two of the new boxes, Sony's NSZ-GS7 -- rolls trippingly off the tongue, doesn't it? -- and Vizio's Co- Star. While they're considerable improvements over the previous generation, Google TV still has a long way to go."
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  11. ash1348

    ash1348 New Member

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    Well, I made up my mind, I am going to stay with Sony and I listed my Vizio for sale. In summary, I chose Sony over Vizio because of the remote control, built quality, extra usb port, AC3 support, more memory, slightly faster UI, and yah, one more thing, its amazing remote control. I have had almost no issues with the box, and it streams my AC3 files flawlessly from my new WD NAS (thanks to GTV app). I really love the remote. I think costar is a great product for $100, however, if you are like me and plan to use the box extensively, I think you would be better off paying the premium and owning the Sony box. Anyways, hope to see the platform to grow and reach its true potentials soon.
     
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  12. LeadingMan

    LeadingMan New Member

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    1. Make sure you are updated to latest version, they added AC3 support
    2. Manually enter DVR? Mine was in a drop down and connected easily
    3. Co-Star has 4Gb of Flash Memory, not 2Gb
    4. IR Blaster is in the remote, so it can communicate to multiple devices - Cable Box, TV, Sound bar
     
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  13. ash1348

    ash1348 New Member

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    I updated my firmware, they have fixed the AC3 passthrough, not streaming from the network issue. I talked to their CS (in addition to chatting) and they said they are working on it, no ETA though. I went through the setup process couple of times (since i reset the box) and each time it asked me to manually enter the model number. It might be different on other cable boxes. Memory, my bad, it is 8 GB vs. 4 GB flash. I corrected my original post. http://gtvhacker.com/index.php/Sony_NSZ-GS7_(Streamer)
    IR blaster, there are some limitations to both systems. Overal, I found Sony's use of IR blaster more functional, since I don't have to aim at the TV or other devices to use the remote, and I don't have to set the remote in front of my box to be able to use the remote app on the phone (on Vizio, remote must see the TV and other devices, if you are trying to use the remote app on your phone to control other devices). Thanks anyways for the response.
     
  14. AlanF51

    AlanF51 New Member

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    With the Sony you get 3 free movies that they value at $45 so the retail difference is $55.
    I had to use Sony support and although the issue was resolved here on the forums. Sony contacted me after I made a post on their forum. The emailed me and tried to resolve the issue via email which I would have preferred but they gave me a case id and number to call, when I didn't call they called me. Sony called me three times at home trying to help me ( I wasn't at home). I have to give Sony support an A+ for effort.

    I have issues with the placement of the volume control an channel control on the side of the remote, its easy for me to hit them by mistake

    I purchased the GTVBox Video Player and it is very nice. I replaced a Revue with a Sony, I am pleased with Sony's releases of fixes for their bugs. The logitech media player was pretty good.
    will probably sell my two revues in the next few months and buy another Sony
     
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