Earlier I wrote an article in anticipation of the release of the Vizio Costar streaming player. Now that I’ve got one and have used it I’ll tell you what I think of it.
It’s not the greatest thing to happen to the internet, but compared to other streaming devices out there it’s worth the money. Sony has one that sells for about $200. The Costar is about $100.
It took about 30 minutes to set it up. That included downloading a software update. The next day I happened to look to see if there were other updates and there was one from the day before, so actually I had to download two updates. After the first one I had the HBO Go app. After the second update that app was gone. There must have been some disagreement between Vizio and HBO. However I can still get HBO Go by using the browser.
What sold me on the Costar was the fact that the browser supports Flash and HTML 5. I tested this by going to the WTHR web site which has Flash comp0nents. Everything on the page showed up and the videos played. The Costar passed the first test.
At first I found it difficult to maneuver around web pages. You can click on a link by tapping the trackpad. But sometimes tapping once would work and sometimes I had to tap multiple times to get the link to work. Once I discovered that you can click on a link by clicking the dash button on the number pad of the remote, that was much easier. I also found that scrolling with the trackpad was difficult, but using the up and down buttons on the remote worked much better.
Some have complained that it takes too much pressure to press the buttons on the remote. However I like the fact that it takes some pressure. That prevents me from clicking a button when I didn’t mean to.
Now the apps. Don’t expect very many. Vizio promotes that you have access to the Google Play Store and it’s apps. But when you go to the store and list all apps only 94 show up, not the thousands that are in the store for phones and tablets. I even did a search for some of the apps I have on my Android tablet and they don’t show up. Even some of the most popular apps are not available, like Facebook. Therefore you need to use the browser to look at your Facebook page.
Vizio recommends a 6MB connection if you’re going to watch videos. On a TV, who isn’t going to watch videos? I have a 3MB connection and watching Netflix has not been a problem. However I did have the start and stop issue when looking at videos on the SEC Sports app. This could be due to that app using high quality (translation: high bandwidth) videos.
Overall, I’d say the Costar is worth the $100.