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Logitech Revue with Google TV

Google is expanding to the set-up with the announcement of Google TV last week. As you might expect, Google has a search-centric view of TV, and this new expansion builds nicely on its Android strategy for mobile devices. But the most interesting difference with Google TV is the way that it is positioned to take over your TV, not just supplement it like Apple TV and Roku are designed to do.

And the implementation of Google TV in the Logitech Revue product goes even further, also integrating Logitech's device control technology from its Harmony Remotes line of universal remote controls.

So the Logitech Revue product starts with the "Companion box," the core set-top box that connects to your TV. But there's another pass-through HDMI port, to also connect your cable or satellite set-top box -- so that the Google TV interface can switch between broadcast video and the Web, and also do overlays and picture in picture. So there's no requirement to manually switch your TV to a different source. And the Logitech Harmony remote technology uses an IR blaster to control all your devices together.

As a result, Google TV then can serve as a consolidated hub for access to today's wide range of entertainment sources:

  • Cable TV and associated video on demand and digital video recorder,
  • Video and audio on demand over the Internet from services including Netflix and Amazon, Pandora and Napster
  • Full Web access with the Google Chrome browser, including Web video sites like YouTube, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and
  • Web-based interactivity with Adobe Flash Player 10.1

In addition, Google TV brings the expandability of mobile devices to the set-top with Google TV Android apps, with apps from the Android Market available early next year. For example, one of the apps on Logitech Revue is a Media Player to access content on your home network and PCs.

That's a lot of content options, which explains the somewhat crowded home page for Google TV -- including Web-like Bookmarks, media player Most Viewed, and TV-like Spotlight for surfing suggested content, as well as direct links to categories including Applications, What's On, Amazon, and YouTube.

But instead of clicking through pages, Google TV is built around search, with a pop-up search bar, driven by "entertainment-based" search. You type in the query, and the returned results can bridge across cable or satellite programming, recordings from compatible DVRs, Web, apps, and shared home media. So you find a clip on the broadcast schedule, or a subscription service, or on YouTube.

To support search and Web access, Logitech Revue comes with a wireless Keyboard Controller, including compact keyboard, navigation panel, touchpad, and dedicated remote control keys. There's also a palm-sized Mini Controller ($129), or download the free Logitech Harmony app as a smartphone controller for Android and iPhone.

You also can connect the Logitech TV Cam ($149) to make video calls in HD on your big-screen TV. This uses the Logitech Vid app, so you also communicate with computers using a webcam (see earlier post).

See my Home Networked Media Gallery for more on Google TV and Logitech Revue.

    Find the Logitech Revue with Google TV on Amazon.com

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