Google TV isn’t widely popular, but there is still a handful of people that love their Google TV boxes. (My Netgear Neo TV Prime comes in handy when the Chromecast gets moved from the Big Screen to the bedroom) Sadly, despite some of the great features Google TV can offer, the support is lackluster and the availability of apps is at best mildly entertaining. Even though Google TV seems to be nothing but a whisper these days, it’s still hanging around in the shadowy corners of the tech world where few may dare to look. The point is, Google TV isn’t dead yet. In fact, it just might be making a come back, but in different form. Hisense has shown off a device at CES that borders on being a next-gen version of Google TV, titled the Pulse Pro, which Cnet was lucky enough to get some hands on time with. Its actually running software that is called “Android TV v4″ which is an Android based UI, so although not Google TV, it bares a striking resemblance to it and even offers the ability to run many of the apps that are on Google TV.
The Pulse Pro is definitely what Google TV should aspire to be. The interface has much more of an appealing visual look, and leaves you feeling less frustrated as navigation appears to be much simpler than on most Google TV boxes. The overall layout of menus and apps seems to be plenty more accessible. The Pulse Pro will have what most Google TV boxes have in terms of connections and support. It carries an HDMI input connection for hook-up to the TV, Bluetooth, and WiFi capability so it can access the web. What we can’t tell from the photos is if it has an ethernet port or not that allows it to be hardwired in, but it would be rather weird if it didn’t.
The box itself looks fairly sleek, but what is really impressive is the remote that comes with it. Compared to some of the other remotes that are out there for Google TV set top boxes, it’s actually quite a bit less complex. It looks to have a fairly simple setup of standard buttons you would find on a TV remote, and instead of having a qwerty keyboard to type up whatever it is you’re looking for, Hisense has opted to use a built in mic for voice recognition instead so as to make use of it a lot easier. The remotes features don’t stop there however, as you’ll find motion sensing inside as well which is what you use when you’re browsing the web. So far, impressions of the Hisense Pulse Pro are good. If this is the direction that Google TV is headed in the future, it should gain a larger audience.