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CES 2014: Hisense Pulse Pro Google TV Set Top Box (analysis)

aNewDomain.net From HDTV to the technolust over 4K TVs, CES 2014 offered loads of television displays. There was everything you’d ever need to satisfy your high-res hunger. LG, Panasonic and Samsung were all over the place. But what I really wanted to see was the Hisense Pulse Pro Google TV set top box, an upgrade to the Pulse it ships now.

Here’s my analysis.

hisense

All image credits: Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain 

The Pulse Pro offers a similar form factor to that of its 2012 version. This time, the box is in white and has a slightly different remote control. I’m well familiar with the original Pulse. And, as I mentioned in my Pulse review, the original device had shortcomings. So does the Pulse Pro fix what ailed it? I headed to the Hisense booth.

pulse

During my visit at the Hisense CES booth, I wanted to do a semi-deep dive into the Pulse Pro. Unfortunately, finding a knowledgeable rep at the booth was difficult. Asking the “booth babe” for pertinent information about the Pulse Pro was pointless. As I expected. To her credit, she did allow me to play around with the device at my leisure and take notes.

Good thing.

This iteration of the Google TV showed off a skinned version of Android. I thought it would. And unlike the Pulse, the Pulse Pro is running a semi-up-to-date version of Android — that’s version 4.2. The box touts a gigabyte of RAM and all the typical I/O with HDMI, Ethernet, Bluetooth, remote with mouse and other yada, yada, yada.

You have to have all of those tech specs just to get on the radar of a cord cutter. Big deal.

My concerns are based around performance. How does the device function? And how well?

The UI looked nicer than the previous version. The remote felt like a typical remote minus the tactile mouse pad. It was truly a much-better experience going from screen to screen and app to app. It has to be the Android 4.2 OS optimization allowing this device to run so well.

pulseUI

What’s to happen with this device after the summer of 2014? Will it be an end-of-life device as quick as the Pulse was? I remember discussions about the original Pulse getting a firmware update for voice controls and Google Search integration. Never happened. The booth babe had no answers regarding the updates. But she was quite confident in advising that the device is to be delivered in mid-2014 for a comparable price around $100.

I’d buy this set top box, but I would like more reassurance from OEMs such as Hisense (and reassurance from Google, for that matter) regarding ongoing support of these devices.

Google has of course mentioned a move from “GoogleTV” to “AndroidTV.” When new versions of Android are released, will this device get them? That is the intent, I’m sure, but understand there are only so many things the hardware can do and support from a functionality standpoint. Still, set top boxes should last longer than two years. They just should.

Hang on for more as I update this piece with comment from Hisense and Google execs …

I’m Ant Pruitt here on aNewDomain.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Ant Pruitt is an IT pro, a columnist and the podcast captain at aNewDomain.net. Look for his Smartphone Photographers Community and Yet Another Tech Show. Follow him @ihavnolyfe or on Google+ and email him at ant@anewdomain.net. See all Ant’s articles on aNewDomain by following this link here.

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  • gina

    Most excellent!

  • SteveMidwest

    We look forward to your update!

    • Ant Pruitt

      Thanks for reading, SteveMidwest!

      -RAP, II

  • HDfan

    I wonder if This new device have the latest google chrome update version ?

    • Ant Pruitt

      I didn’t dig into the Chrome browser, but it did “work,” HDfan.
      Thanks for reading and your comment!

      -RAP, II

  • Brian Tehan

    Thanks.

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  • John Davis

    Looks nice. When will this ship?

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