Google is preparing to release a wireless 4K TV box, even as the Fibre service retrenches


Google is preparing to release a wireless set-top box for the new generation of ultra-HD “4K” TVs, even as the company drastically scales back its high-speed internet and TV Google Fibre efforts.

Recent filings with the FCC reveal that Google has received authorization to bring to market a “4K wireless TV box.”

The filings are short on details, but note that the device includes WiFi capabilities, operating on the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands. That would mark the first time that a Google Fibre TV set-top box offers wireless capabilities, which should allow a consumer to put the box and TV anywhere in their house.

“The enclosed documents constitute a formal submittal and application for Equipment Authorization for a set-top box that contains a 4×4 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac and a Bluetooth 4.1 radio,” reads one of the letters submitted on Google’s behalf to the FCC on February 13. The box is identified as A4RGFHD254.

Reports of a wireless 4K box were first reported in November by 9to5Google. But the FCC filings are the first official confirmation that Google is developing the box and preparing to roll it out. The box’s 4K capabilities mean it should be capable of delivering ultra-HD video designed for the new generation of 4K televisions.

The filings do not say when the set top box will be released. But certain documents in the Google filings, including photos of the device and the user manual, are being kept confidential by the FCC until August 8, 2017, suggesting that the device will be available before that date.

The launch of a new set-top box comes at time when Google’s Access business, which provides high-speed internet and TV service to consumers in select cities, undergoes a period of retrenchment.

The Access business has put on hold its plans to expand availability of its service to additional cities, and has laid off or transferred hundreds of jobs. Earlier this month, the Access group, which is a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, announced the hiring of
Gregory McCray as the new boss.

Google did not immediately return a request for comment.

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