The Google Nexus Player’s biggest strength is also it’s second biggest weakness (The first is a lack of available apps, but that could change if developers adopt the platform).

The first box to ship with Android TV software is incredibly simple to use. Not only does it have a simple user interface, the box only has a few ports: one for an HDMI cable, one for power, and one micro USB port that developers can use to connect a PC for debugging.

But it turns out you can also use the micro USB port for a few other things.

nexus player ethernet
image credit: redditor xBIGREDDx

In my Nexus Player review, I noted that with the help of a micro USB to full-sized USB adapter, I was able to plug in a USB flash drive and/or a keyboard and mouse.

It turns out you can also use a USB to Ethernet adapter to connect the Nexus Player to a network. Even though the Nexus Player doesn’t have a dedicated Ethernet jack, the box should automatically detect your network when an RJ45 cable is connected and use your wired connection rather than a wireless one.

This can come in handy if you don’t have WiFi, want to use the box in a location where wireless reception is poor, or just trust an Ethernet connection to offer a more stable internet connection than WiFi.

Need a micro USB to Ethernet adapter? You can pick one up for around $5 to $25.

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16 replies on “Surprise: The Google Nexus Player supports Ethernet (kinda)”

  1. Sorry, but for the most reliable HD streaming, its LAN. My first dip in the streaming world was Chromecast and video playback was awful. Now that ROKU (which has a LAN port) supports Google play, I see now reason to upgrade or buy a Nexus player for another room in my house.

  2. it was confirmed by google that usb-ethernet adapters would work (those with linux kernel support) when the nexus player was announced.

    good article for the increasing the awareness (for those who haven’t looked & are still complaining about), bad article for the surprise.

    the same goes for those complaining about storage. use a usb hub, and connect both ethernet and a hard drive…. or just use the port for storage. They even sell thumb drives with a usb micro connector these days for exactly this kind of thing. Mounting storage is a bit less on the user-friendly scale, I don’t think the nexus player makes it trivial (non-google oem’s devices usually have a ui for this), but everything can work technically.

    that usb port was always portrayed as OTG capable.

    1. One microUSB port is enough? Oh, yes I suppose we could track down a microUSB hub type thingy so that if we wanted to use ethernet and say a keyboard via USB port then we can work it. Ah, but expandable storage? Let’s look for a 3 port microUSB hub then? I won’t continue to trash this thing, but really. Am I the only one who considers microUSB to be flaky from over usage? It’s not what I would consider to be a solid, long lasting port in my experience. Since it has one, how long will it last with plugging and unplugging and being weighed down with heavy adapters/cables?

      1. use a standard hub with a single otg cable for the ‘pc’ end of the hub, all your devices would have full size ‘a’ [normal] connectors after that point. what makes you think you need all usb micro hardware all the way down?

        Micro usb connectors are good for 100000’s of connect cycles, and i imagine even more so in a stationary device like a stb. That was the big impetus for the design change from mini-usb, remember that?

        that said a full size port would be worth the increase in size, imo. I’m happy with the ports available on the adt-1.

        i think the goal with the nexus player was ‘design’ (space) first, and secondary to be a passive encouragement of using phone accessories instead of pc ones. Phone accessories would have better compatibility (and encourage the android ecosystem), and avoid disappointment as a side effect. (aka why doesn’t my usb printer/scanner/fax work?)

        at the end of the day, the nexus player is competing with the roku and fire tv [as a standalone video streamer], many of you should hold out for a device that suits your workloads better

  3. If you have to go to this extent to make a late 2014 release device useful, then it’s not worth buying in the first place. It may be the worst product I’ve seen in quite some time. Who knows, with this working now, won’t Google patch it out because this wasn’t the “vision and intent” they had with the device? Afterall, it’s about as locked down as you can get.

    1. This device is perfectly fine. I use a Chromecast on WiFi with no issue and that’s a basic single band wireless N device. The Nexus Player has dual band AC. I’m fairly sure most people will have no issue with this and actually prefer WiFi if given the choice. For those that must have Ethernet, this simple, cheap add on is an option. Or one could just wait for all the other Android TV devices coming from other OEM’s, I’m sure at least one of them will have Ethernet. Also, there is no way Google will lock down the USB port. I’d have no problem recommending this option to anyone with a Nexus Player who needs WiFi.

      1. I guess we beg to differ on what is a worthwhile product to recommend to friends. If this player was about $50, then perhaps it’s worth considering. The lack of ports is appalling. I was excited before this launched but to see something so feeble is just sad really. Heck, even if it was $50 I would have a hard time recommending it to anyone. I can’t think of one selling point frankly. It’s thin? It looks like a hockey puck? Not sure what to say.

  4. Must admit, I’m pretty disappointed with the Nexus Player for basically one reason. External Storage.

    Google launched a device built to differentiate itself from a basic streamer by having an app/game store and being able to use lt as an Android Game console. They even built a controller for it. Yet didn’t build in a uSD or SD card slot to store games/apps on and have that integrated into the system. Whats the point of that. All that effort to additionally make it a game console, only to then have 5GB of storage , enough for 3-4 big games. After that it resorts to becoming just a streamer and nothing else. All the effort to make it an open market for app/game devs and for consumers to buy and run apps/games is then completely erased.

    Its like building an RV with a great motor, living space, GPS and mapping system, an inbuilt guide to all RV holiday spots across the US – but then give it a fuel tank that can only take you to the local store.

    So poorly thought out.

    1. USB OTB could be used for external storage. I have never seen a Nexus device have an SD slot (micro or regular). The lack of ethernet really deters me from wanting to jailbreak this device… Chromebox is a much more attractive target. Without an ethernet port, Google saves money and deters the modification of the box.

      On a different note, I am really looking forward to putting raspberry pi on the Amazon Fire TV Stick. No ethernet, but xbmc might run very well (at least faster than old PI).

      1. “put raspberry pi on Amazon Fire TV”… wtf does that even mean?

        1. there is a chance that official raspberry pi os images will work fine on AFTS (amazon fire TV stick). The GPU and CPU cores appear identical… small changes may just be needed.

          1. what? no!

            Fire TV is Snapdragon 600, so Krait CPU-Cores and Adreno 320 GPU-Cores, while RPi has Broadcom BCM2835 that comes with VideoCore IV GPU

            i don’t even…

      2. You can run a Micro USB to Ethernet adapter no problem if you’d like to hard wire the device.

    2. The Nexus Player does allow for external file storage access. What you need is a micro USB-to-USB adapter and ES File Explorer to be downloaded and installed onto the unit.

  5. I guess the remarkable thing is that they didn’t remove a feature that every cheap android stick has as well as many if not most android smartphones.

  6. Very cool. I wonder if Lollipop will include drivers for more OTG device types out of the box.

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