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Introduction

It's been nearly two years since Google unveiled its flop of a streaming media player, the Logitech Revue. After a lengthy hiatus from the spotlight, Google TV is back to take the stage. Its lead actor? The ironically-named Vizio Coaster Co-Star.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Vizio Co-Star, use our service manual.

  1. Vizio Co-Star Teardown, Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • Providing the market with a $99 answer to the Apple TV (also $99), the Vizio Co-Star brings a refreshing reincarnation of Google TV to the world of set-top boxes.

    • Notable tech specs:

    • Google TV platform

    • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled

    • Hot buttons for Amazon, Netflix, and M-Go

    • 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolution support

    • MP3, AAC, and WMA audio playback

    • Universal QWERTY remote with trackpad

  2. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 2, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 2, image 2 of 2
    • The rear side of the Vizio Co-Star includes an impressive lineup:

    • USB 2.0 port

    • HDMI-In port

    • HDMI-Out port

    • Ethernet port

    • DC-In Power port

    • On the bottom we see the reset switch and four suspicious-looking rubber feet.

    • Spoiler alert: the feet aren't hiding anything.

  3. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 3, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 3, image 2 of 2
    • A little prying around the edge with a plastic opening tool, and we've got the bottom panel free.

    • Comparatively speaking, the Apple TV required two metal spudgers to open, as opposed to a single plastic opening tool here. No need to split hairs; they're both easy to open up, and we love it.

  4. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 4, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 4, image 2 of 2
    • We pull off what looks like an EMI shield only to find a thermal pad sitting on top of a sea of small resistors.

    • It's not often that we encounter cooling for the back side of a motherboard, but Vizio took extra precautions as this Co-Star has no fans.

  5. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 5, image 1 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 5, image 2 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 5, image 3 of 3
    • The only thing standing between us and the motherboard are some screws and two connectors. Say hello to our little friend!

    • For those of you tuning in at home, a grand total of five screws and two cables must be removed once inside the device to free the motherboard. That's going to give the Co-Star a nice ratings boost.

  6. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 6, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 6, image 2 of 2
    • And here comes the Co-Star's motherboard strolling down the red carpet:

    • Marvell Armada 1500 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor

    • Marvell 88DE2755 QDEO Video Processor

    • Nanya NT5CB256M8GN-DI 2 Gb DDR3 SD RAM (2 Gb x 4 for 1 GB total RAM)

    • Samsung K9GBG08U0A-SCBO 32 Gb (4 GB) NAND Flash

  7. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 7, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 7, image 2 of 2
    • We're used to the innards of devices being dominated by a single component, but those space hogs are usually batteries or power supplies.

    • Over a third of the real estate in the Co-Star is inhabited by the aluminum heat sink.

    • You may be asking yourself why the Co-Star has such a huge heat sink?

    • The answer lies in air movement. Without fans to circulate air, there is no forced convection. Therefore, the Co-Star must rely on conduction and natural convection to keep the processor cool.

  8. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 8, image 1 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 8, image 2 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 8, image 3 of 3
    • We remove an additional board to reveal a whole lot of nothin' underneath.

    • The board houses the USB port and, well, nothing else.

    • We use our always-trusty spudger to disconnect the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antenna cables from the wireless board.

    • A Marvell Avastar 88W8787 WLAN/Bluetooth/FM Single-Chip SoC brings life to what would otherwise be a very bland and boring board.

  9. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 10, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 10, image 2 of 2
    • A plastic opening tool and a steady hand are all we need to separate the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas from the Co-Star's lower case.

    • This antenna cable is too short.

    • This antenna cable is too long.

    • This antenna cable is just right!

  10. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 11, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 11, image 2 of 2
    • That's pretty much it for the Co-Star, but we do like to do a thorough teardown here at iFixit, so we took a quick look at this flashy silver bezel. It sadly revealed nothing more than a flashy silver bezel.

    • Modders, take note: the bezel comes off easily and would probably look pretty slick when painted neon green.

  11. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 12, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 12, image 2 of 2
    • Just like the Boxee Box, the Co-Star comes with a neat two-sided remote.

    • Unlike the Boxee Box though, this Vizio controller is universal and features a touch-sensitive trackpad. Point, Co-Star.

    • As a finishing touch, the Co-Star remote has ABXY buttons and a directional pad for OnLive gaming. Not only is that an incredibly unique feature, it gets us all nostalgic and stuff.

  12. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 13, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 13, image 2 of 2
    • The battery tray comes right out, but this isn't much of a surprise. How often did you try to "fix" your TV remote by pulling out the old batteries and just switching them around?

    • A pair of AA batteries were included for the remote. That's a legitimate selling point right there.

  13. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 14, image 1 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 14, image 2 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 14, image 3 of 3
    • Here's another opportunity for the modders out there. How cool would it be to have a neon green keyboard bezel to match your Co-Star?

    • Whether you're painting it or not, the bezel pries off the keyboard quite easily.

    • Following suit, the rubber button cover peels off without a problem.

    • Since the button cover and the bezel are the components that usually get the dirtiest, it's great they are easy to remove.

  14. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 15, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 15, image 2 of 2
    • Buttons on both sides mean lots of data transfer. Luckily, the data cable slides out from connectors on both PCBs.

    • The Co-Star's remote looks to be as easy to take apart as the media player itself.

    • Once again, this isn't really a surprise. Remotes, unlike smartphones or laptops, aren't subject to strict space constraints.

  15. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 16, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 16, image 2 of 2
    • The keyboard backer sports a couple of ICs:

    • Maxim MAXQ610 16-bit Microcontroller with Infrared Module

    • Broadcom BCM20733 Human Interface Device Bluetooth 3.0 single chip

  16. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 17, image 1 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 17, image 2 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 17, image 3 of 3
    • A few Phillips #0 screws and some prying and the lower case of the remote is gone. See ya!

    • With the case removed, we learn the screws were pulling double duty and holding the motherboard in place.

  17. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 18, image 1 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 18, image 2 of 3 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 18, image 3 of 3
    • Yoink!

    • We grab a handy pair of tweezers and gently pluck out the trackpad data cable before removing the other board.

    • This board is powered by a Renesas R5F2133 16-bit microcontroller.

    • No flash photography, please, but this PCB does host the two IR blasters, with one conveniently on the side for the QWERTY keyboard.

    • Peeling back the remote's keypad is as easy as peeling a banana. Underneath is the capacitive touch trackpad.

    • A lot of strong adhesive is used to hold this board in place.

    • If this comes loose, your movie night will be gone with the wind, hence the generous amount of adhesive.

    • Excess adhesive usually doesn't get in our way. With a little bit of patience, our iFixit guitar picks, and a spudger, we free the trackpad from the frame.

  18. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 20, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 20, image 2 of 2
    • The trackpad is controlled by the popular Synaptics T1021A Touch Controller, also used in the Logitech Revue.

    • Which reminds us, it's time to revue the Vizio Co-Star's repairability.

  19. Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 21, image 1 of 2 Vizio Co-Star Teardown: step 21, image 2 of 2
    • Vizio Co-Star Repairability: 8 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • The outer case only requires a little bit of prying with a plastic opening tool to open.

    • The only screws used in the Co-Star are standard Phillips #0.

    • Most of the components are easily accessible and thus easily replaced in case of failure.

    • Removing the remote's QWERTY keypad is painless, making regular cleaning a relatively simple task.

    • An abundance of glue securing the trackpad to the front of the remote makes removal difficult.

Jake Devincenzi

Member since: 04/18/2011

115,709 Reputation

57 Guides authored

One Comment

I have an inquiry not so much related to fixing procedures but to functionality. The important question for me is, if it is compatible with Apple Mountain Lion-based computer equipment? I had a Western Digital WDTV Live Plus I recently sold on auction because Apple mucked around with the network layer stack, or some unfamiliar jargon like that as explain a while back by WD support staff. Other then that, if the Vizio Co-Star does functionally work similar to an Apple TV, but provides greater connectivity in home network with Apple computers and more versatility in video codec playback I may want to get one of these.

Thanks for the guide teardown. You folks do a terrific job at ifixit.

Jerry - Reply

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