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Asus Cube is a capable, but flawed, Google TV set-top box

Yardena Arar | May 15, 2013
Previewed at the 2013 CES (then called the Qube), the Asus Cube is a set-top box that delivers the Google TV experience--a combination media streamer, advanced program guide, and application bundle--for a modest $140. But in my tests, its many admirable features weren't always easy to use.

Also, I'm not convinced normal users really want to access the Web on their TVs. One of the reasons Roku and Apple TV products are so successful is that they provide a consistent, non-browser experience as much as possible instead of kicking people out into the greater Web to fend for themselves.

Another glitch involved trying to set up Facebook in the Accounts Manager. It turns out that the Cube doesn't come with a working Facebook app (one may eventually come via a firmware update), so trying to set it up using Account Manager produced a page that hangs. Asus says Facebook users should instead access Facebook via Chrome.

Bottom line
I don't want to make it sound like the Cube is defined by its bugs. Google TV has some very appealing features--for example, I like the way the program guide, accessible via a dedicated button on the remote, lets you browse through categories of content (movies, reality and game shows, comedy, and the like) with programs displayed as thumbnails, and then tune to your choice with a single click. If a show you're interested in is in progress, the guide tells you how much time is remaining--and it even let me tune to an upcoming episode of Perry Mason a few minutes before it began. But in part because of its hardware limitations and in part because of the way Google TV itself works, the Cube at this point still feels more like a product for techies than a consumer electronics device for the masses.


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