$99 Google TV box set for November availability

Hisense USA has become one of the first vendors out of the box--pun intended--with a Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) TV set-top box to bring Android video streaming capabilities to existing TVs. The box is being debuted at CEDIA Expo 2012 in Germany starting Friday and should hit the U.S. market in November, the company said in a news release.

Called the Hisense Pulse, the box touches the magic sub-$100 price point that the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) TV, the Android-based Vizio Co-Star and Roku have set. While the world waits for existing TVs to incorporate Google TV, viewers will be able to purchase a Pulse to get things like Chrome for Web searching, Google Play Search, TV,  movies and YouTube (of course) as well as available live TV and apps from the Google Play store and the home network. The box will also be a gateway to picture-in-picture and picture-outside-picture functions so viewers can multitask between viewing, surfing and social networking, the news release said.

"This box effectively bridges the gap to the latest in home entertainment, without the need for expensive hardware upgrades," said JoAnne Foist, director of marketing at Hisense USA, in a statement. "Most people have at least one HDTV in their home and with the addition of a Hisense Pulse with Google TV, we offer the liberty of accessing not just TV, but a host of streaming content, web surfing and TV apps (such as Pandora Radio, CNNMoney, Motor Trend, and Thuuz) that are available in Google Play."

Foist said that the Hisense box surpasses what's already available in the marketplace and "allows consumers to experience a new level of smart content discovery and viewing recommendations."

The box, which includes a dual-sided remote control with a QWERTY keyboard and dedicated Netflix button, is 4.5 square inches, 1.4 inches tall and weighs about a pound and a half. It includes HDMI, Ethernet and USB ports and built-in Wi-Fi, the company said.

For more:
- see this news release

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