Home' LAPTOP Magazine : January 2011 Contents entertainment
Companies have been working
to bringthe webto your TV
for more than a decade, but
most efforts have fallen
flat. Now that online
video is mainstream,
and more and more
people are using
their laptops while
they channel surf, Logitech
and Google think they may have the answer. The
Logitech Revue ($299) is the first device available
running Google TV, an Android-powered platform
that’s designed to complement your current cable
or satellite TV setup.
The Revue isn’t nearly as small as the Apple
TV or Roku XDS, but its light weight (1.3 pounds)
means you can easily move the box. On the back
there are several ports, but only one connection
input: HDMI. Users without an HDTV will have to
skip the Revue.
Once we hooked the Revue up and turned it
on, Google TV guided us through setting up the
box and the Internet connection (Wi-Fi or wired),
and programming the keyboard controller to work
as a remote. Compared to the Apple TV, entering
passwords and navigating menus on the Google
TV was much less time-consuming.
The Logitech Harmony keyboard controller
is big enough to accommodate a full QWERTY
layout, plus a navigation area on the right side that
includes a touchpad. We found that navigating the
Google TV user interface with the controller was
both easy and fairly intuitive (especially if you’re
at all familiar with Android). However, some may
find this controller bulky and awkward compared
to the typical living room clicker.
The multimedia apps on hand range from
streaming music—Napster and Pandora—to
streaming video—CNBC Real-Time, NBA Game
Time, and Netflix. Under Spotlight, users can find
suggestions for web content, including Crackle,
HBO Go, the Onion News Network, and YouTube.
Some of these apps require an existing subscription
(Netflix and HBO Go being most prominent), but
at least these are services with large audiences.
However, there are some prominent absences:
Hulu Plus is the biggest hole.
At least for now, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC have
joined Hulu in blocking Google TV users from
accessing their content. Despite having a built-in
browser, this box doesn’t offer as much free web
entertainment as we’d like.
Though Flash is supported, Chrome did not
always play well with site coding. While we were
watching an episode of House, the video didn’t
always stay in full-screen mode when the com-
mercialsplayed, and even
then the elements on the
page overlapped, leaving
The search engine
filters out sites that block
Google TV, so at least you
won’t spend time clicking
only to discover a video
won’t play. However, for
most current and popular
shows, that leaves slim pick-
ings. Even though Netflix
plays well with Google TV,
results from this ser vice
don’t show up.
Logitech Revue with Google TV
the first Google tV device has lots of potential, but the content and apps need to catch
up to the hardware.
CPU: 1.2 GHz Intel Atom CE4100 Graphics:
PowerVR SGX535 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n
Ports: Two USB, HDMI, Ethernet, SPDIF, IR
Blaster Size: 9.7 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches Weight:
Integrates search well
Video chat option
Touchpad/keyboard remote a bit complex
Small selection of available free web video
Web surfing isn’t as robust as full desktop
DVR integration limited to DISH subscribers
The search results for TV listings are useful for
people looking to see what’s on right now. But
only those with compatible DVRs will be able to
act on information about shows that will air in
the future via the Revue.
The simple truth is that Google TV isn’t for users
who want to cut the cable cord; it’s for those who
want to enhance their current T V experience.
Judging by hardware alone, the Revue is impres-
sive for its speed, search capabilities, and neat
picture-in-picture feature for multitaskers. This box
isdefinitely worthalookforthosewho want allthe
multimedia benefits they can cram into a TV without
having to deal with a desktop OS. However, there’s
still a long way to go in term of content selection
and adding additional apps. Right now $299 is a
lot to pay for potential.
— K. T. Bradford
Click to view
Laptop | January 2011
Though it has an Android base, the Google TV interface is designed for a
television. The Home Menu is simple with large text and icons.
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