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Vizio Co-Star Review

Posted by Jack Ellis at 6:15 PM on August 23, 2012

vizio Co-StarOn the day that the Vizio Co-Star became available for pre-order I ordered one and it arrived late yesterday afternoon. It is small about the size of an Apple TV only thicker. The unit comes with a power cable, a remote, batteries for the remote and a quick start guide. HDMI cables are not included.   ifixit did a tear down of the device and all the specs are available on their webisite

The setup is fairly easily although there is some information you want to have in front of you. There are two HDMI inputs one to attach your cable box, if you have one, and the other one goes to your TV monitor. The Co-star has no sound output, so all the sound has to come from the monitor and what ever sound system that is attached to it. You are now ready to plug the Vizio Co-Star in. The Co-star has no on off button so you have to turn it on and off using the remote control.

Once you have it turned on, it will take you thru the setup process. In order for the remote control to pair with your cable box you may need to input the make and model of the cable box.  Although I was able to pair the remote with my Comcast cable box without having the model number. You can also pair the remote control with your TV, sound system and Blu-Ray Player. To do this you will need the make and model number for each.

During the set up you will quickly notice the limitations of the remote control that comes with the Vizio Co-Star. It has no back light, so it is useless in a dark room.  It hard to type on the keyboard. In order to type a number or symbol you have to hold down the function key while hitting the number. This quickly gets tiring when you are trying to type in a password for a web site. If you have an Android device I would recommend tossing the remote control that comes with the Vizio Co-Star and use the Able Remote which you can download from the Google Play Store.  The Google TV remote app from the iOs also works. However because the Vizio Co-Star doesn’t have an internal or cabled IR blaster the Able or Google TV remote can’t control your regular TV.  I am thinking about getting a USB ir blaster, but I am not sure that would work. Despite these limitation I still recommend downloading one of these apps, if only for the keyboard. I actual like the Able remote the best so far because it is customizable.

Having used the Vizio Co-Star for a day now I am happy I purchased it, however I am not sure it is ready for prime time. Part of the problem there are too many choices and those choices are not always clear. For example there is an app called Made for TV, which if you click on it allows you to easily access sites like CNET, Vimeo, Chow ,etc. However unless you click on it you would never know this. There is a USB input and I tried to attach a USB hard drive to it, but I have not figure out how to get the Vizio Co-Star too read the USB drive. I tried to follow the directions, but it didn’t seem to work. At this point I am probably going to download the Plex app and handle it that way.

The video playback has been very good so far, the only time I have had a problem is on a Web site that had an embedded live Ustream video on it. It kept on freezing, and occasionally crashing. I have had similar problems with the site before on a computer, so I think the problem maybe with Ustream and not the Vizio Co-Star.

I have both the current Apple TV and 1st generation Roku Player and the Vizio Co-Star is definitely replacing the Roku Player. I especially like the fact that I can easily switch from regular TV to TV on the web. You can also easily pull up and use sites like Facebook or Twitter, which is something you can’t do on a Roku Player. Plus the Roku Player buffers a lot and so far I haven’t had that problem with the Vizio Co-Star. I am going to move the Roku to the TV downstairs, where the Apple TV is.  If you are thinking about getting a Google TV, the Vizio Co-Star, at $99.00 is definitely worth a look.

10 Comments

  1. From Jean Coker at 6:30 am on September 1, 2012

    I love the co-star but, being an old lady who loves technology even though the learning curve is steep for me, I can’t figure out how to enter info in the amazon search box or even sign in (can’t get the links to work, either). Help desk said to point the cursor and hit ok but it hasn’t worked so far. I know it’s probably a totally stupid problem but any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time and attention,

    Jean Coker

  2. From Vizio Co-Star: A Better, But Not Good, Google TV at 12:33 pm on September 1, 2012

    [...] times Vizio Co-Star Review – Geek News Central (click for full article) My web-mix (bookmarks) for GTV content. (In order to view all [...]

  3. From KL Tech Muse at 1:00 pm on September 1, 2012

    I agree with you, entering information in using the remote control can be really hard and frustrating. I find if I put the remote down on or against a hard surface so it is steady, it works better for me. When I try to do it in mid air my hands aren’t that steady and the cursor moves around too much. Also once you have the cursor where you want and typed in what you are looking for then try lightly typing the track pad, that seems to work best for me. I hope that helps some.

  4. From Jean Coker at 1:43 pm on September 1, 2012

    Thanks so much for your help. I’m gonna follow your advice and try again.

  5. From Onlineid615 at 8:42 am on September 2, 2012

    We purchased this device to replace our Logitech google tv. Unfortunately it doesn’t support required buttons on the Time Warner remote. We are going back to the Logitech and waiting for something new to wow us. Two remotes is not ok for me.

  6. From ramanx at 2:38 pm on September 4, 2012

    someone definitely let me know how to access files via USB. is Plex the only answer, or is there something native to the Vizio Costar?

  7. From KL Tech Muse at 6:55 am on September 5, 2012

    Try aVia. I have a USB hard drive attached to a local Macbook and my videos are in .mp4 format and it is playing them fine. Also the tutorial at the beginning is clear and concise

  8. From Gregory Nak at 8:59 am on September 8, 2012

    I have been using google tv now for almost 2 years.
    The keyboard is very easy to use . And never gets lost.
    The costar by vizio needs keyboard like this with a few upgrades.
    Also if costar could have bluetooth with sound for late night watching tv.

  9. From Beverly at 2:15 am on September 16, 2012

    If I leave my roku hooked up – will the vazio costar let me use it like the tv and other gagets you have hooked up? I can switch over to roku and watch hulu plus.

  10. From KL Tech Muse at 7:40 am on September 17, 2012

    Yes, I just tried it and it works fine. Once you hook it up just push the TV button on the Vizio Co-Star home screen and after a couple of moments the Roku home screen will appear. You will have to use the remote you control your Roku at that point. Since the Vizio remote is not set up to control the Roku.