While many companies are still working on living room PCs the size of gaming consoles, Razer is taking a different approach with its Forge TV "micro-console," which is diminutive in physical size and price.
Resembling the Apple TV's footprint, the Forge TV is built on the Android TV platform, so it can download games, apps, and other media from the Google Play store to display on your HDTV via the device's HDMI v1.4 connection. You can also stream media files from an Android or iOS device using Google Cast.
It doesn't include a remote, relying on an app on your Android phone or tablet to control it (voice search is an option), though it does work with Razer's Serval, a new Bluetooth controller that's based on its Sabertooth Xbox controller. The Forge allows you to use up to four Serval controllers for multiplayer gaming action.
The new controller will come in handy for Razer's forthcoming Cortex: Stream software, which will allow you to stream PC games via the Forge. The company promises that the service will provide full HD gaming over wired or wireless home networks when it goes into beta testing this spring. One other accessory created with the Forge in mind is the Turret, a keyboard and mouse that rest on your lap and offer the gaming features (anti-ghosting keys, 3,500 DPI mouse) you'd hope to get from Razer.
As you might expect from such a small PC, the Forge doesn't pack much in the way of specs. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core CPU and an Adreno 420 GPU, and contains 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage, though it does not appear to have a memory card slot to add capacity. Other connectivity options include a USB 3.0 port and built-in 802.11a/c Wi-Fi.
While the Forge TV starts at just $99.99, that price only includes the console. Alternatively, you can purchase it with a Serval controller for a special price of $149.99. That combo also includes the Cortex: Stream service, which costs $39.99 as a standalone app. It's free with the purchase of a Serval controller for $79.99 or the Turret for $129.99. The Forge TV and Serval will be available sometime in the first quarter of this year, but you'll have to wait until the second quarter for the Turret.