Google TV Gets Real
We've been hearing about Google TV for months, but now it's finally getting really real. Logitech has officially unveiled the Revue, a $300 set-top box that brings Google TV to your big screen. The Revue was announced earlier this year, but now we're finally seeing the product in action, and we're close to getting our hands on the device: Logitech says it will be available by the end of the month. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Logitech Revue.
The Logitech Revue is made up of two key components: a small set-top box and a keyboard controller. The set-top box itself connects to your HDTV via HDMI, and to your home network via a wired or wireless connection. The Internet connection allows it to deliver the Google TV content -- which includes apps, videos, Web sites, and your media -- to your TV, where you can still see your cable or satellite TV content.
The Logitech Revue needs two connections: one to your HDTV and one to your home network. It connects to your TV via HDMI, and can connect to your network either via a wired Ethernet connection, or wirelessly, via 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.
More Than Just a Keyboard
Logitech says the Revue's keyboard is more than just a keyboard -- it's a keyboard controller. The compact device offers both a full QWERTY keyboard for easy typing, plus a touchpad for browsing Google TV's features. You also get typical remote controls, such as volume and channel adjustments.
The Revue is more than just a keyboard and a set-top box; Logitech says it will support a "growing selection of accessories." Those include cameras for video conferencing, smartphone apps for controlling your device, and any other gadgets that developers can dream up.
Your Own Remote
If you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or an Android phone, you'll be able to use your device to control the Revue. Logitech says the Revue has "the brains of [its] most advanced Harmony remote built right in," so you'll just need to download a Harmony App to your device, and you'll be in control.
What You Need
In order to use the Revue, you need three things: an HDTV with an HDMI port, a wired or wireless Internet connection, and a cable or satellite TV box with HDMI out. That's enough to get you up and running.
All the Specs
On the outside, it looks like a sleek, shiny little black box. But on the inside, the Logitech Revue packs in some serious specs. It features HDMI input and output, wired and wireless networking, 2 USB 2.0 ports, audio optical output, and more.
One of the Revue's accessories is an optional TV camera lets you make high-def video calls right on your TV, right from your living room. It's available for $150.
You don't have to stop watching your favorite TV shows to take advantage of the Google TV technology. The Revue displays its data as an overlay -- right on top of the existing TV image -- so you can search the Web while still watching TV. It also supports picture-in-picture technology, so you can watch two shows at once.
The Web on TV
If you want to use your big-screen TV as a monitor for Web surfing, the Revue has you covered there, too. The Android-based box lets you browse the Web just as you would on your computer, whether that means reading stories from your favorite news site, checking out Google maps, or even viewing videos. It also includes support for Adobe Flash 10.1, for viewing multimedia sites.
Google TV: The Homepage
When you fire up your computer's Web browser, you see your homepage. The same thing will happen when you turn on your Logitech Revue and access Google TV. You'll see a customizable homepage that gives you access to your favorite channels, apps, podcast, Web sites, and more.
Google Search on Your TV
Google has branched out in recent years, but the company remains best known for its excellent search technology. And now Google search is coming to your TV. The Logitech Revue, like all upcoming Google TV products, will offer universal search that goes beyond the Web, returning results searching your DVR recordings, on-demand movies, and cable/satellite TV programming, too.
Apps on TV
The Revue will come with a selection of Android apps preinstalled. Available apps will include Netflix, NBA.TV, and Pandora, all in versions designed for use on a TV.
Web Sites, Designed for TV
Google says that more and more Web sites are being optimized for viewing on Google TV. This picture shows the site of TV station TBS, designed for viewing on a big-screen TV.
Optimized Navigation for Web Sites, Designed for TV
Not only are Web sites optimized for viewing they are optimized for navigation. As you can see here finding the next video to watch is a breeze.
More Cool Features
Additional Google TV features include YouTube Leanback, which allows you to watch videos without ever hitting play -- videos are chose for you, and played back in full-screen HD. Google TV also lets you browse the Web and watch TV at the same time -- perfect for those Twitter addicts who need to tweet, but can't take their eyes off of their show. And, if you have a compatible mobile phone, you'll be able to "fling" content from your phone right to your TV. Pressing a button will send the whatever your watching, listening to, or doing on your phone over to your TV.
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