Google TV breaks out with Logitech's Revue
By Paul Ridden
October 7, 2010
Smart TV has landed. Logitech has announced a full line of products to allow users to make the most of Google TV, including what used to be referred to as a set-top box with a specially designed keyboard controller, a high definition camera that fits on top of the HD television and a smartphone app that will turn an iPhone, iPad or any Android device into a system remote. Users will already need to have a HD television, a satellite or cable provider and a broadband line to benefit from the unit and accessories, but can then look forward to additional online content played through the TV and seamless search across all available programming.
Google TV offers users access to all the familiar programming from a cable/satellite provider along with additional content from around the web and seamless search across everything. Users can surf the web with an included full browser and be able to use a host of Android apps.
The Revue box connects via HDMI to a TV, is linked to broadband Internet and is hooked up to a cable or satellite content provider. After a brief onscreen setup, the Revue offers users access to a host of preloaded Google TV and Logitech applications in addition to the usual programming schedule. Access and interaction control over the new content is provided courtesy of an included keyboard which wirelessly links up to the main box using Logitech's own wireless technology.
The keyboard controller has a familiar QWERTY keyboard layout and includes a laptop-like touchpad. Buttons to control the TV, AV receiver and DVR also feature and user customization and command mapping is also catered for. Amongst the functions activated by the keyboard is a useful dual view mode that allows users to surf the web while watching a TV program, which will no doubt prove useful for looking up answers to questions during quiz shows or finding out background information on a favorite sports team.
Also on offer are a couple of other ways to take control of the Revue box. There's a palm-sized mini controller that also sports a touchpad and keyboard, with back-illuminated keys that change color depending on the mode being used. Like its bigger brother, the mini controller also allows users to control TV, AV receiver and DVR functionality. Its Li-ion battery said to give up to two weeks of use between charges.
Logitech says that: "as an open platform, the additional power of Google TV lies in its potential to deliver new possibilities for the living room through the development of innovative applications." To this end, the company has created an app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and Android devices. The Harmony app not only allows control of onscreen activity using gestures but users will also be able to activate voice searches.
The company has also unveiled a TV Cam and Vid HD service that offers 720p high definition video calling through the system. The TV Cam connects to the Revue via USB and features Carl Zeiss optics, a wide-angle lens to help get everyone in the frame without squeezing into an armchair, 5x digital zoom and a couple of directional microphones. The webcam also uses the company's RightLight 2 technology that is said to automatically adjust image settings so that users are always captured in a flattering light.
Logitech Revue with Google TV will be available by the end of October for a suggested retail price of US$299, the mini controller will cost US$129 and the TV Cam is set at US$149. Although the keyboard controller is bundled with the Revue, it can also be purchased separately for US$99. The smartphone apps are free to download.
Sony is also releasing Google TV ready products – a HD Television and Blu-ray player.