Back when the Chromecast with Google TV first debuted, there was an almost-immediate competitor that rose up to challenge it. Walmart’s in-house Onn. Android TV Streaming Box (super-cool name, right?) took us by surprise and in my house, at least, it became a go-to solution for TVs not found in our living room. It wasn’t that it did anything better than the Chromecast with Google TV, but it was wildly cheaper, sitting at around $20 for the life of the product on Walmart’s shelves. For a 4K streaming device, that is crazy-cheap.
Rumors have been swirling of an update to this popular streaming box, and it looks like we now not only have a confirmation of this device being certified in the Google Play Console, but we also have a full-blown Walmart listing for the device as well.
So, what’s different?
At first glance, you’d be forgiven for not really seeing the difference in this iterative update. From the remote to the box to the packaging, things look largely similar. Dig a bit deeper, however, and there are a few meaningful changes this time around that will make this affordable streamer a bit better.
To make it short and simple, we’re looking at a small upgrade in the processor (Amlogic S905Y4 versus the S905Y2 in the first version), the removal of Amazon Prime button on the remote (replaced by Paramount+), and the inclusion of the Google TV interface. Those changes may sound small, but they’ll have an impact on the end user experience for certain.
While the processor upgrade likely won’t bring many speed benefits, the availability of AV1 encoding is the real win with this chip. With more and more content moving to this format, streaming boxes clearly need the ability to use it, and this new box will have that capability.
And while the Paramount+ button addition is largely tied to Walmart’s affiliation with that company (you get a Paramount+ subscription with Walmart+), the other noted addition – Google TV – is a pretty big deal. While Android TV has moved closer to the interface and UI you get on the Chromecast with Google TV, it isn’t quite as good in my opinion. If this Google TV interface matches what we get on the Chromecast, it will make the Onn. box that much more enticing.
The listing is live right now on Walmart’s website, but it still shows as “out of stock”. However, with the certification of this device in the Google Play Console, I doubt it will be long before it arrives for purchase. While I’d love to see at least one company step up and offer more than the paltry 8GB of storage on these more-affordable streaming devices, I’m glad to see Walmart continue to push forward with the Onn. streaming boxes. And who knows, maybe we’ll get an Onn. Google TV Streaming Box Ultra or something down the road with more power and more storage for $50. If Google’s not going to do it, someone should.