Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 7:42 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondLogitech debuted its Revue connected device, offering an up-close look at the first implementation of Google TV to hit the market. I attended the press briefing in NYC; here are some of the key highlights, followed by pros and cons as I initially see them:
- Logitech Revue will retail for $299.99, which includes the box itself and a "keyboard controller" which is a lightweight combination QWERTY keyboard with a touchpad and left/right/up/down arrow controller
- Revue is available for pre-order at Amazon, BestBuy.com and Logitech.com. Delivery is expected by end of October.
- Optional accessories include an additional keyboard controller ($99.99), a "mini controller" ($129.99) which offers all the same features in a smaller clamshell form factor and a Logitech TV cam, which is a 720p HD webcam that works with Revue ($149.99).
- Apps for iPhone and Android are available free and effectively turn these devices into a third controller for the Revue.
- A one-touch search bar allows discovery across broadcast TV and online sources, both free and paid (a Google spokesperson said a new optimized content "corpus" with just relevant video is searched, not the entire web; this means you don't have to wade through a lot of typical Google results for any term you enter into the search bar).
- Search will also tap into your DVR recordings for pay-TV operator optimized set-top boxes. The only operator on board so far is Dish Network, which has a short-term exclusive deal to only work with Logitech. Dish will also retail the Revue box and the accessories.
- In addition to search, you can also navigate via menus for websites, channels, apps, most visited, and "Spotlight" which allows surfing. A "queue" feature lets you explore podcasts.
- When using the apps, voice control navigation is also enabled. We saw a neat example of searching for "The Price is Right" simply by speaking the words. You can also share a video discovered on your phone to the Revue device with a couple of clicks. Both very Jetsons-like.
- "Dual view" is a picture in picture mode that allows you to watch video in one window while searching or doing other things in the larger background.
- Flash 10.1 video is supported.
- Netflix has created an app for Google TV that looks a lot like the first version of the Roku app I'm very familiar with. Note that browsing the Watch Instantly catalog isn't yet possible, and also that Revue's search doesn't crawl the Netflix catalog to expose results for searches conducted. This type of true universal search is already available in the TiVo Premiere for example and is really valuable.
- Other apps preloaded include CNBC, Chrome, Napster, NBA Game Time and Pandora, though none of these were demo's. No social media app was demo'd either, though Twitter was mentioned earlier.
- There's a Logitech media player that allows you to access and play media files from other devices on the network
- 720p HD-quality video calling is enabled with the new webcam using the Vid HD app. This can work Revue to Revue, or Revue to PC/Mac. Less than 1 megabit is needed upstream for video calling.
- Revue uses "Harmony Link" with RF connections so that all devices currently recognized by Harmony remotes will be recognized immediately