Google, Hisense partner for sub-$100 Google TV set-top box

Chinese company Hisense will ship a Google TV set-top box later this year

Google is adding more partners to the Google TV universe, with Chinese company Hisense preparing a Google TV set-top box that will become available later this year for under US$100, according to both companies.

Google so far has partnered with Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG, which are putting Google TV software in TVs and set-top boxes. The Hisense device's closest competitor will be Vizio's $99 Co-Star Google TV set-top box, which has already sold out on Vizio's website.

"Hisense adds even more innovation to the growing list of Google TV-powered devices available around the world. We're working closely with partners like Hisense to bring services from Google and multiple other providers to your TV with an experience tailored for the living room," said Mickey Kim, Google TV partner manager, in an email statement.

Hisense will show the device at the IFA trade show, which will be held in Berlin Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.

Google TV is based on the Android OS and tries to solve the problem of blending classic TV and Internet functionality under a single interface, which has proven to be a challenge. Through Google TV users can search for movies on broadcast TV, DVR or the Internet, and combined listings are shown under a single search result. Users also have access to Android applications and 100,000 movies and TV content through Google's online store.

Google has also said that more partners will be offering Google TV devices in the coming months. Some Google TV products are expected to be shown at IFA.

The new devices run the second generation of the Google TV software, which was revised after the predecessor software was considered a failure. Devices like Logitech's Revue set-top box and Sony's Internet TV with the first-generation software did not find wide acceptance. Google is seeking a reboot with the new Google TV software, and already has more partners than it did for the first-generation software.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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