So my wonderous soon to be wifey got me a Nexus Player for X-mas. It is a nifty little device with capability.
There are issues with it. The fact that the app store for it is limited. You can sideload apps but that either means downloading them onto another machine and using a file manager to download them to itself, or using a usb cable to adb into it(assuming you have a cable that works...).
The controller for it works really well. Its great using it to navigate the menus. Which brings us to another annoying caveat of this new toy. Its obnoxious to navigate a billion different tiles for Youtube or Netflix. The mic on it works wondrously. It makes searching for things easy since you dont have a keyboard to type anything out. It searches google and gives you a quick synopsis of what you are looking for, along with applicable videos. What it wont do is search inside of other apps(limited numbers of those).
The other controller, the gamepad that you can get is very nice. Its wonderful to navigate the menus with that thing. Even better than the stock remote that comes with it. One thing though, if you want to do a quick search for something it does not have a mic on it. I really wish it did so I would not have to pick up the remote that comes with it. One thing i really wish google had included on both of the remotes would be a 3.5mm jack for headphones. Like the roku 3 controller which is awsome for stealth tv watching(baby never knew).
The design of the Nexus Player is very nice. It feels well built in your hand with the nice textured coating/plastic shell. I doubt you will ever be touching it all that often. It has a bit of heft to it compared to phones or even tablets. The recessed outputs on it make for a very clean visual when it is situated into its cabinet/shelf/taped to its permanent location.
Despite its cons I believe it has potential. If only google could conquer their fears of things farther than fingertips away, they would have a wonderful machine on there hands. I know android is a very touch centric OS and they made concessions for android TV. They compromised to much with Nexus Player.
While poking around on forums and Xda about the Nexus Player i came across a post about someone installing android 5.0 on the device. So knowing how gimped android TV is and how i like to tinker with things I decided to give it a try. Installing the OS onto it is just like any other nexus machine using ADB in a command line. Got the OS onto and had myself a snafu... the controllers did not work. Bust out the trusty on the go cable to hook up a usb mouse to it. Bam i got it all set up and going.
Then the issues with android 5.0 became obvious from 10 feet away from the TV. YOU CANT TOUCH THE TV! So i tried out a wireless bluetooth mouse on this thing. It worked very well but it was so slow typing. Hmmm how to fix this issue. Bluetooth keyboard FTW! Now im sitting 10 feet away with a mouse and keyboard with a wallowing child wanting to push every damn button daddy touches. blah. Then it hit me. The ps4 controller i have sitting under the TV collecting dust next to the ps3. So i load up the sixaxis app onto the Nexus Player. It connected to it once and when it did it worked flawlessly. Having the buttons and a touchpad to navigate the menus and what not was fantastic. Made the 10 foot distance so much closer. Wonderful if it could connect past that initial time.
All of this brings me to what i wanted to say for the Nexus Player. Stick a mic and touch pad into the gamepad and give us stock 5.0 on the little box/puck/disc/cookie. Having a controller with a touchpad brought everything so much closer to your hands and so much closer to android navigation.
P.S. The Nexus Player makes a very slick emulator for the living room. Small and compact with plenty of storage for a ton of games. Then again im living out my childhood on this machine...