Google ready to unleash fresh batch of set-top boxes at I/O 2014

Google is set to reveal a set-top box, or perhaps several, later today at its developer conference, with the company joining a crowded field and competing against Apple TV, Roku streamers, and of course Amazon's Fire TV offering.

Read more: Google I/O 2014 keynote live: Commentary, pictures and analysis

Several sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal said that Google was going to show off "at least one" such box of streaming media tricks, which will be powered by new Android TV software, although it will bear another company's brand name.

The suggestion is that Google will work this arena much as it does with smartphones, providing the Android TV software to hardware manufacturers who will make the devices. It's not clear whether Google will produce one showcase model itself carrying its own brand, much like the Nexus with phones and tablets (although the Nexus name may be ditched before long, anyway).

As you would expected, the boxes will allow users to stream music, video, and play games on their living room HDTV, with Android apps for remote control (and likely other platforms, too).

Of course, we've been here before with the failed Google TV effort a few years back, but the big G evidently feels this market is worth another crack – unsurprisingly as it's an expanding one, hence Amazon's recent entry into the frame. Apple was also recently talking about how the company is getting serious about its streaming box, which is now more than just a "hobby".

Google will be looking to push the strength of Android, and features such as being able to play a game on your Android phone when commuting back from work, and have it synced with your set-top box, so you can pick up where you left off on your TV when you get home.

It'll definitely be very interesting to see what's revealed at I/O 2014 later today – stay tuned to our live coverage and analysis here. Google is also going to take the wraps off Android 5.0 Lollipop, and we can expect more on Android Wear devices, plus we might even see the rumoured 8.9in Nexus tablet.

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