Logitech Revue Review – Google TV

Google TV has been out for a while now, and the initial press has been a mix so varied that it’s hard to tell what to make of it. The general theory of Google TV was certainly quick to have fans, but many have found reasons to shoot down the system, the way it has been released, and the suspect future. People interested in this tech should be aware of the alternatives. If you don’t have a smart TV, a good alternative can be a streaming box. Most of these boxes are based on Android and allow you to watch your favorite TV shows. Or if you’re really techie you could maybe build your own streaming box. I had a friend that did that with some components he found at places similar to Octopart, it was a great little project him but that isn’t for everyone.

One the techy-er, newsy-er side of things, there is much debate about how Google TV is going to move forward, but on the side of wondering if something specific, the Logitech Revue and/or Google TV, is worth the money, I find things to be pretty clear.

For a lot of people, I imagine, trying to work through a review and determine what is Logitech Revue vs. Google TV will cause no end of needless frustration and confusion. The Logitech Revue is the thing you buy at the store, hook up to your TV, and thus make use of Google TV. More detail than that is probably useless, and trying to distinguish them, insofar as putting out ideas here, makes either of them difficult to talk about.

The Logitech Revue comes to you as a two-piece system, a box that connects to your TV, and a wireless keyboard controller. I use Tivo, and hooking up the Revue is as easy as plugging in a couple of HDMI cables. I assume it is just as easy no matter what configuration you have going, but you might want to check your cable box or DVR to see how you are going to set things up.

In a nutshell, the Revue, and/or Google TV, connects your TV to the internet, and gives you an all-in-one solution to getting everything that’s available to watch. It doesn’t matter if you are just searching the web for videos, or using a service like Netflix, you can find anything available, quickly and easily. You can also connect to things like Twitter and Facebook, which are available through other systems on your TV, but generally not with a keyboard.

The keyboard acts as your universal remote, controlling not only the Revue itself, and all the options for watching you get there, but also controlling your Tivo, or other DVR, or cable box, as well as your television. Controlling everything is a snap, and the keyboard is put together with ease of use in mind. A couple of minutes getting acquainted with it, and you’ll know how to do anything. That’s a lot more than I can say for a lot of other universal remotes.

The trackpad and arrowpad give you a lot of control for navigating around, whether you’re on a website, or working through menus on your DVR, and hotkeys and the ability to customize the keyboard controls mean it’s easy to do anything.

Once you go through the initial steps for setting up your Revue, such as letting it know what channels you get through your cable provider, you can search for any show, or anything you want to watch, and you’ll get results from the web, Netflix, Amazon, TV, and more. Plus, you have several other apps within the Revue framework that let you get such things as Pandora radio, and even check out the photos on your home computer.

The possibilities are just about endless, and certain expansion options make things even more impressive, like the available TV camera that gives you the ability to make video calls.

So, you’ve got the internet at your fingertips, available to you in the comfort of your living room, and can get to anything available to watch, no matter where it’s available – but, the question still on everyone’s mind is, “Am I really going to get anything out of this?”

The “anti-sell” of Google TV is the idea that you have to watch a lot of internet video for it to be worth anything to you. It’s hard to argue with that idea, especially when it’s hard to explain what you get out of it without saying that you can watch internet video, but it nevertheless isn’t really the case. First off, there is a lot that comes to you with the Revue package, even if you never watch anything beyond what you watch already (let’s assume you stream Netflix with something). Even without that, you get the ease of use, and the system for searching what’s available. Plus, I’ve watch Netflix streaming videos using everything that offers the function, and the Revue gives you the best experience with it.

But, the question isn’t really how much internet video do you watch now, but how much would you watch if you really had any idea what was out there, or if you could get it on your TV instead of your desktop or laptop?

A lot of people probably don’t think the difference is all that great, but it is. From the shows that the networks make available on their websites, to the extra content they have for fans, to everything on YouTube, Hulu, and many more, the world is a much bigger place than a lot of people realize. It’s still a difficult technology to explain effectively, and to be honest, I feel for people in stores who are trying to deliver a meaningful sales pitch to those who come in, but it is worth exploring, and the Revue delivers. I’ll leave a little more clarification to some videos, but the system is very fast, and will absolutely change the way you watch television forever.

As a final note, iPhone users can also download an App that takes over control, and turns your iPhone into a remote that can run your Revue. It works fine enough, but it could do with a bit of tweaking. There is a lot of moving around to do within the App to run things, but it’s certainly a great option.

Key Features

• Endless entertainment choices mean you can enjoy the full Web — including YouTube, Facebook® and Twitter™, apps such as Netflix and Logitech Vid™ HD, plus music, photos and games — right alongside your favorite TV programming.

• Intuitive control with the keyboard controller makes finding what you want to watch on your HDTV as easy as searching online. The controller includes:

  • Touchpad that offers mousing controls
  • Access to your cable guide, DVR content or live TV, volume controls
  • Access to dual view mode
  • DVR controls such as record, forward, back and pause
  • Home button to get back to the Google TV main menu at one touch

• Embedded Logitech Harmony® Link technology lets you control your IR entertainment devices in your entertainment system from your keyboard controller.

• Simple HDMI setup turns your TV into a smart TV in just minutes. Just connect Logitech Revue to your TV and get ready to enjoy TV, the full Web, apps, movies and more all from the comfort of your couch.

• Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity gives you the flexibility to connect to your high-speed Internet wirelessly or with a cable.

• Logitech® Unifying wireless technology lets you connect other compatible wireless devices without filling up the USB ports on the Logitech Revue companion box.

• Works with other Logitech accessories, such as a Logitech TV Cam for HD video calling.

System Requirements

• HDTV with HDMI port

• Cable, satellite or telco box with HDMI out

• High-speed Internet access (Wi-Fi or Ethernet)

• HDMI cable

Consumers today have access to an enormous amount of content, delivered by a range of sources and increasingly complex devices. To bring this content together through a single interface on the best screen in the house – the TV screen – Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) has worked with Google on a line of products designed to create the best Google TV experience for the millions of U.S. households with an HDMI-ready TV. Google TV brings traditional TV programming together with the entire Internet, with the ability to search across them both.

Logitech today unveiled Logitech Revue™ with Google TV™, a compact, plug-and-play companion box with its Logitech® Keyboard Controller, which together provide seamless control over the Google TV experience and home-entertainment devices. The company’s portfolio of products for Google TV also includes the Logitech® TV Cam and Vid™ HD service for HD video calling from the comfort of one’s sofa. In addition, Logitech is offering the Logitech® Mini Controller for Logitech Revue as well as other applications designed for the Google TV platform.

With a broadband Internet connection available, connecting the Logitech Revue to your home entertainment system is easy. Use the included HDMI cable to connect the Logitech Revue to the port on your HDTV, and then connect another HDMI cable between the Logitech Revue and your cable or satellite provider box with HDMI out. Then plug in the system to power up your Logitech Revue and follow the directions on the TV screen to complete the brief software setup. In minutes, the content available on your TV will expand beyond the day’s programming to include virtually limitless Web content, as well as a host of preloaded Google TV and Logitech applications.

Once set up, you can use the included Logitech Keyboard Controller to navigate and interact with the new world of content available on the biggest and best screen in the house – the TV screen. Watching your favorite videos online on your HDTV is just the start. Pick up the controller, and type in anything you want to find. Watching the big game on live TV and want to know the latest stats on your favorite player? Simply use the dual-view mode to see the stats on the Web while still watching the game.

The Logitech Keyboard Controller includes everything you need to control Google TV and features a familiar keyboard layout so anyone can start searching without a learning curve. It includes a touch pad with scroll functionality for control in addition to back and home buttons for easy Web page navigation. And to give you a reliable connection, the Keyboard Controller uses Logitech Unifying wireless technology.

Because Harmony Link technology is embedded in Logitech Revue – the same technology that powers Logitech’s award-winning family of Harmony universal remotes – you will enjoy seamless control over how you experience Google TV. So when you search for something and then click on it, your selection will come up at the touch of one button – no manual switching of inputs required.

In addition to the familiar typing and mouse experience, Logitech provides buttons to control your TV, A/V receiver and DVR. These let you power on your TV, turn up the volume on your speakers or access your DVR content without needing to use an additional remote. In addition, you can use the setup software to customize buttons of your controller and map commands for your devices.

Product supplied by Direct Choice Satellite, an authorized retailer of DIRECTV–the industry leader of satellite television service providing top quality satellite TV programming to over 19 million households across the United States. DIRECTV HD is now FREE to all new DIRECTV subscribers.

Subscribers with a DIRECTV HD DVR can also access DIRECTV Cinema with the Logitech Revue, which features over 400 new releases and a video library of over 6,000 shows and movies.

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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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