The new VIZIO Co-Star LT Stream Player (Model ISV-B11) is a simplified solution to bringing apps to any HDTV that supports HDMI-HDCP connectivity. What makes this device so simple is that it brings exactly that, without the additional of Google TV. It basically turns any non-internet connected HDTV into a Smart TV (as long as it supports HDMI-HDCP connectivity).
The device is very small and can fit easily behind the TV if it is mounted to a wall. This is good as it helps to minimize the amount of cables and clutter that is visible and keeps a clean looking installation. It connects in-line with your TV’s incoming HDMI cable (the back of the device has an HDMI in and out in which is simply acts as a pass-through so that you don’t ever have to change inputs on the TV).
Tip: Companies offer many bracket solutions for hooking these types of devices to the back of TVs. Although this works perfectly fine in function, we find that it is much more simple (and cost efficient) to use velcro.
It offers support for WiFi, which is required for any of the apps to work (there is no ethernet) connection).
Power can be an issue on the Co-Star LT as it is powered via a regular plug (Edison). We have taken a liking to the new devices entering the market that can power themselves via the TV’s USB ports. By relying on a normal outlet plug, you can’t essentially eliminate the sight of cables when mounting your TV against a wall, unless you have a plug located high on the wall directly behind the mounting position.
Our only solution for the minimization on cables in this instance is to run a low-profile power strip to the back of the TV, velcroit as well and then coil the TV and Co-Star LT‘s power cables so they hide neatly behind the TV and plug into the strip. This way you only have the one cable of the power strip running up to the TV (or, you can fish it down the wall if it’s rated for that).
The remote is very minimal featuring 3 buttons at the top for Netflix, Amazon Video and M-GO – as well as a directional pad and an ok, back, home and cancel button. If you have read our reviews of other TV’s and devices that feature remotes, you would know that we have high standards for such and will never be completely happy with a remote unless it features a qwerty keyboard on the back (else searching for movies using the various apps can become tedious at times). Sadly very few companies take advantage of qwerty keyboards still.
You can currently find is on Amazon for $79.99
(sometimes it sells out which may force you to wait a few days before it actually ships).
The price tag is a little high for us as there are far too many devices that offer a smorgasbord of features around the same price. We would have been happier with a price of no more than $39.99. So until the price comes down, our rating for it isn’t going to be too high and we are going to lean more towards recommending a better device such as the Roku 3. You could also try the non-LT version of the VIZIO Co-Star which offers Google TV and web browsing, however we would still recommend Roku over that as well due to some claims of buggy troubles with the Co-Star’s interface and remote. Our rating? 4.5/10 as the LT is too simple of a device to compete price-wise with the competition that offers a lot more bang for your buck. So until the price comes down…buy a Roku 3.
Are you a manufacturer or vendor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.