A year ago, Verizon introduced an Android TV-powered connected TV device, which The Verge pondered “as possibly the worst option for streaming,” based largely on the fact that the $70 gadget didn’t give users access to Netflix.
Twelve months later, Verizon is debuting the latest iteration of Stream TV, updating the UI, device profile and the silicon. There's a nifty new wall mount, and a cool new feature that lets you press a button on the set-top that chimes the remote when it's lost. And this time, Stream TV logically includes support for the world’s top subscription streaming service.
“Stream TV features the top streaming apps from the Google Play Store,” Verizon says in its product announcement, specifically touting support for not just Netflix, but also Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu, YouTube TV and “much more.”
It was unclear as to why the first iteration of Verizon Stream TV didn’t support Netflix. Ostensibly, an Android TV device should allow access to any app available within the vast selection of Google Play. Then again, Verizon is using the operator tier version of Android TV, which lets set-top and gadget suppliers customize the OS.
We asked a Verizon rep if that latter assertion holds true for version 2.0—for example, is Peacock supported? "Peacock is not preloaded, but it's listed in the Play Store and I'm not aware of any compatibility issues that prevent it from working," the rep responded.
Subscriptions are managed through the individual streaming services, Verizon confirms, but there is also an on-demand store that gives access to video rentals and purchases billed through Verizon.
Verizon is giving the device away free to new Fios Gigabit Internet customers and to fixed 5G wireless customers, the latter through a promotion that will launch Thursday.
Otherwise, it’s available for purchase at verizon.com/streamtv.
As for finer technical details, Verizon Stream TV supports 4K Ultra HD, HDR10 and HDR 10+ display formats.
It also supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) dual-band 2.4 GHz/5GHz connectivity.
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