The Vizio Co-Star is a $99 Google TV

Google TV is an interesting beast. By letting third party hardware manufacturers use their specs, they're adopting a PC-like model not unlike their Android strategy. As the technology improves, we're bound to see better interfaces, better applications and lower prices. Vizio has made a quick step off the starting gun and is launching their first Google TV candidate, the Co-Star - and it's only $99.

Google TV is an interesting beast. By letting third party hardware manufacturers use their specs, they’re adopting a PC-like model not unlike their Android strategy. As the technology improves, we’re bound to see better interfaces, better applications and lower prices. Vizio has made a quick step off the starting gun and is launching their first Google TV candidate, the Co-Star – and it’s only $99.

At that price, any consumer would be forgiven for assuming it’d be the Robin to other, fully featured Batman Google TVs, but that’s not the case. The Co-star has all the most important features of a Google TV, as well as a few unique elements of its own.

The Co-star will have a stream player, access to Google Apps and a Google Chrome web browser with Flash and HTML5 support. The app selection will include Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and even OnLive. We’re a big fan of OnLive, which brings you cloud streaming gaming with just one click. The fact that this is baked into the Co-star makes it a viable gaming machine – assuming a person has a fast internet connectino.

The Co-star also allows you to connect to your cable or satellite, which means it will be ready for SocialTV apps and interactive live experiences. As the Google TV battle heats up, we’ll see more and more Social TV apps come along, and we’ll be testing them on various devices to see which ones truly promise that living room social experience that everyone’s wondering about.