You have a living room with a nice big TV. The problem is your fast gaming rig is in the other room. Wouldn’t it be great to find a bridge between the two? Razor’s new Forge TV set-top box is a new micro-console experience designed to beam your next-generation games to your Cyber Monday television. It runs Android TV, but that’s not really why this thing exists.
Equipped with a quad-core processor and “gaming-grade graphics,” the Forge TV can connect to new Razer software called Razer Cortex: Stream, which is part of the company’s popular gaming launcher suite. The idea is to run Cortex on your computer, in turn giving Forge TV access to your gaming library. And bam: you’re gaming in your living room with technology that Razer promises is “ultra-low latency” up to Full HD resolution over Wi-Fi or ethernet.
Here’s the kicker: “Stream is hardware agnostic and is compatible with Directx9 games and higher from any publisher.” That means you can play the majority of your library right from that comfy Lazy Boy you just got for Christmas. Cortex will support any Android TV device running Android 5.0 and higher, so you technically won’t need Razer’s own Forge TV hardware. You will, however, need a PC with a dual-core CPU or higher, along with a GPU that’s part of the HD5000 series or GTX580 or higher.
And how does one control these games in the living room? Well, Razer is offering two different options.
First: Razer Turret is a wireless 3500 DPI ambidextrous gaming mouse and lapboard combo; it connects via Bluetooth 4.0 LE or Wireless 2.4GHz. In other words, you should enjoy (mostly) lag-free gameplay. The second option is called the Razer Serval, which bears a striking resemblance to an Xbox One controller (which is fine!). The controller can remember up to four unique device pairings, letting you easily bounce between your computer, Forge TV, smartphone and tablet; Forge TV, meanwhile, supports up to four controllers simultaneously, so it’ll be easy to include friends.
And Forge TV, by the way, can do anything an Android TV-equipped set-top box can, so you can easily access things like YouTube, Hulu, Crackle and so on. It also has Google Cast functionality, which means it’ll be a cinch to beam content from your devices to the Forge TV. It’s basically being marketed as the ultimate entertainment tool, and a pretty solid alternative to other set-top box devices on the market. At $99, it’s also priced to compete.
Forge TV is tentatively scheduled to be out in Q1 2015, while Cortex: Stream will hit beta during Q2 2015. Serval controller will retail for $79 and be out during Q1 of this year (a Forge TV and Serval bundle is $149, so you save money); the Turret lapboard and mouse combo, finally, will retail for $129 when it hits during Q2.