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Impressions of OnLive, live on Vizio VIA Plus TV

When OnLive announced its particular brand of cloud-based gaming was making its way to Vizio's VIA Plus line of connected products, we were eager to get some more details. We got an opportunity today at Vizio's CES suite. While the Vizio tablet and smartphone were on display, they weren't rocking the OnLive implementation just yet; however, that's hardly surprising since, while it was running on the above television, it won't be available publicly on VIA Plus devices until "late in the year."

So what did we learn? That by building the OnLive functionality right into the hardware, they're managing to bypass the input latency associated with an attached device. The television is also able to automatically switch to "game mode" to help ameliorate those delays. And since all of the VIA Plus sets support 3D, OnLive will be working with publishers to support 3D mode directly in the service.

Since the VIA Plus platform is built using Android and Google TV, we asked if we can expect to see OnLive on other Google TV-powered sets. In short, we were told that the OnLive application is actually running below Android, in an effort to get more direct access to the hardware. Apparently, in order to keep pings low, OnLive will be working directly with specific device manufacturers as opposed to a platform-wide app release. Our hands-on time with the service – which we were told is still very early – felt as smooth as it does on a Mac or PC, with a small amount of input lag perceptible on demanding titles, like first-person shooters. Unlike the Mac or PC, the Vizio implementation uses the Microconsole's wireless controller, which will sync with the set.

Much like Netflix before it, partnering with this new breed of connected devices – everything from TVs to Blu-ray players to streaming boxes – seems like a natural fit for the cloud-based OnLive and Vizio, as the nation's #1 LCD HDTV company, is a strong place to start. Where to next, OnLive?

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