Nexus player: Sucks
Posted by Michael Medin at 2015-06-12
I fell in love with chrome cast a year or so ago... after having spent almost two decades trying to build a "digital stereo system" (followed by a HTPC system, followed by a media center...). Chromecast has the benefit of "just working" without any hands on required. But it has some snags. So to try to remedy them I got myself a Nexus Player. And here are some quick reflections after having owned a Nexus Player for a month or two...
Now the biggest snags with chromecast is the lack of remote, I really detest having to bring my phone to the couch. But this is a personal preference and inconsequential. The other flaw which is the real deal breaker for me is the lack of 5Ghz wifi. The problem with 2Ghz wifi is that everyone else is using it to stream movies in my apartment building so in essence the network is crapped out. Where as the 5Hz band is al but empty (except for me). Again this is a very local problem but a pretty big problem non the less.
So when the Nexus PLayer was released state side I started thinking of importing one. But side loading in high tech wares usually ends badly so I opted to wait instead. But once the Nexus Player was available in Sweden I ordered one from the Google shop. And it really works much much better. It has a pretty good UI, I control it with my Harmony Hub remote and it runs effortlessly on the 5GHz band as well. Movies loads in seconds and I have yet to experience a drop due to networks congestions (notice the disclaimer here).
And this is where the happiness ends for the Nexus Player has a few flaws of its own.
Google Wifi password sync woes
So Google has this nifty (I think) feature where it syncs wifi passwords or at least it seems that way. Because no matter what I do I cant get the Nexus Player to stop using the "slow wifi" over the 2GHz band. I mean why on earth would it even want to use it is beyond me but how does it find it? I have never added it, never used it never... It has a different SSID, I keep "clicking forget" but alas not... So every other day or so the Nexus Player reverts back to the 2GHz band. Now once I have learned this I know to go and click "forget" on the slow one every time I start the Nexus Player but it is kind of annoying.
You open up the app store and woila: there are maybe 20 apps in it? You go: what? and Google a bit, and it seems that there are thousands of apps, but the app store on the Nexus PLayer wont show them. That makes sense... not... Now I wont go on here as this has been fixed, but seriously, 6 months to realize you cant browse apps? Does anyone at Google actually use a Nexus Player?
From Network Outages to Netflix outages
Before on the 2GHz band I frequently got disconnected and could not play movies. This was the main reason for getting the Nexus Player so lo-and-behold my surprise when I keep getting "We cant play this title" on my brand new Nexus player. And seem this time it is due to a bugs in the Netflix app or something along the lines as it works perfectly if you play something else for a bit and go back. So I really should not blame the Nexus Player for it, but the irony is killing me.
Now dont get me wrong, I really wanted to love this thing. It is the closest to a good HTPC I have been...but why does it has to make it so hard to love it?
Anyways, today I wanted to try to play some games and went out and got myself a nifty gamepad for the Nexus Player. After some 10 minutes of gaming it restarts... and... this is what I now have...
I have tried EVERYTHING I mean everything from different HDMI cables, to different "tv" (my monitor) to factory reset, to... But alas, this is all I get (if I get anything at all) followed by the nice random pixel pattern shown below... And not if you remember I bought this "when it was released" from the Google web store so returning it will most likely be an expensive chapter as I will probably have to ship it to Ireland or some such...
Well, maybe I can re-sell it as some fancy art installation given the nifty patterns? ...or maybe... just maybe ... I shall go back to the happy days of Chromecast... a 30 euro chromecast will probably be a lot cheaper then shipping a 100 euro Nexus Player for repair...