Google has ceased direct sales of its Nexus Player set-top box. The hockey puck-shaped device, manufactured by Asus, has been unavailable from major third-party retailers like Best Buy for months. And after a brief Google Store restock in early April (probably to get rid of the last units), Google has now pulled the Nexus Player’s store listing entirely. The product’s information page remains, at least for now. “Nexus Player is still available on some retail sites,” a spokesperson told The Verge, meaning that finding it elsewhere is your last remaining option for getting one.
Introduced in late 2014, the Nexus Player was the first set-top box to run Android TV, but was by no means Google’s first try at becoming the center of your living room. It followed up on the complete dud known as Google TV, but also the surprise breakout hit that was Chromecast. Android TV isn’t going anywhere, to be clear; it’s the operating system that comes preloaded on 2016 televisions from Sony and Sharp, and you can still buy Nvidia’s Shield to get it running on an existing TV — in 4K, even. “Android TV continues to be a living room favorite as one of the best smart TV experiences,” Google’s spokesperson said. “We are pleased with the success and have seen millions of activations so far.”
But other electronics manufacturers like Vizio have chosen Google Cast (the underlying platform that makes Chromecast work) instead of Android TV. It’s a decision that gives their products a more simplistic interface while retaining the ability to stream content from popular apps. Android TV is a much fuller offering — not unlike a Roku — with built-in apps, voice search, and even access to the Google Play Store for more software options.
The Nexus Player wasn’t a particularly powerful or memorable set-top box; it was really just a way to get Android TV out the door. And just like Amazon’s Fire TV devices (and later the new Apple TV), it demonstrated the convenience of powerful voice search when browsing for movies and TV shows to watch. But if you read over Google’s statement, no one’s claiming that the Nexus Player racked up big sales numbers. So long, Nexus Player. I guess the only remaining question is how long a Nexus set-top box will continue getting future software updates…