Google has unveiled the first device to make use of Android TV, the Google Nexus Player.

The Nexus Player will be the main competitor for the much talked about Apple TV. But how exactly does it compare?

Design

Simplicity reigns for both of these boxes. The newly released Nexus Player is simply a round, black box with the word "Nexus" on it. The Apple TV box is also a simple black box, but is rectangular with round edges.

Neither of these set-top boxes draws too much attention to itself and they can both sit calmly next to a TV and remain completely unseen.

Specs

Both devices include an HDMI output and 8 GB of storage, but that's about where the similarities end. The Nexus player includes 1 GB of RAM, double the 512 MB found in Apple TV. While the Nexus Player includes a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom processor, Apple TV includes the rather outdated A5 processor. It's important to note, however, that Apple has not updated Apple TV in a while, so it's possible that we could see a device with improved specs soon.

Remote

As was expected from Google, the Nexus Player remote includes a microphone for voice control. The remote is very simple and includes directional controls and playback controls. It also includes a microphone button to enable voice searching if needed.

The Apple TV remote is just as simple but a little less functional. It includes a clickwheel for direction and playback controls, like the Nexus Player. While the remote is less functional, that's not necessarily a bad thing because of how easy it is to navigate, with the operating system being based on iOS.

While the Apple TV remote is certainly pretty, the search functions on the Nexus Player put its remote head and shoulders above. Simply press the button and say the show you want to watch.

Apps

Apple TV currently has around 100 apps, but many of them require the use of an iPhone or iPad through AirPlay. The Nexus Player will be launching with a much smaller 28 apps, but it is largely expected that many more apps will be added as time goes on. For now, all the expected apps including Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are there.

Games

When the Nexus Player was announced it was clear that one of the big draws of the device would be its gaming capabilities. It even has its own dedicated gaming controller. Theoretically, any game on the Google Play store that supports a third-party controller should be able to run on the Nexus Player.

As for the gaming capabilities on Apple TV, well, there really are none, unless you count being able to stream games from an iPhone or iPad.

Interface

The operating system behind Apple TV is based on iOS and has a familiar grid-style layout. The Nexus Player uses the new Android TV which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. While there are a number of differences between the two operating systems, they have the same basic layout and are very easy to navigate.

Conclusions

Both systems have a lot to offer and at the same price of $99. However, it seems as though the Nexus Player really is the better choice. While those firmly stuck in Apple's ecosystem may prefer to stay that way, for those who are still deciding, the combination of better specs, voice control, gaming options and the fact that the platform is sure to grow at an extremely fast rate in the near future seem to make the Nexus Player the better option.

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