Google finally broke a long drought of Google TV news with its blog post on Monday about upcoming content partners like HBO and the NBA, but today the dam bursts. Logitech held launch events in New York and San Francisco to unveil its Google TV companion box the Logitech Revue. Though a new line of TVs from Sony will come with Google TV built in, Logitech’s box will be the more accessible option, since it’ll work with the HDTV you already have.
The Revue box--which comes bundled with the Logitech Keyboard Controller--is the spearhead of Logitech’s Google TV product line. Two optional peripherals, the Mini Controller and TV Cam, will augment the Revue’s capabilities.
On the software side, you’ll be seeing the user interface Google has already shown off. To recap: Google TV pulls in video from all over the web and includes built-in apps like Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand. The fully-featured web browser supports Flash, and some of Google’s partners are optimizing websites to tie in with Google TV functionality. The Revue also comes pre-installed with other apps. Logitech’s primary offering here is the Media Player, which will access multimedia from a USB storage device or a DLNA media server on your home network. Another app, Vid HD, works with the optional Cam add-on--we’ll get to that one in a minute.
Oh, and by the way: Dish Network subscribers can buy the Revue for $179.00. That’s a sweet discount, but the fine print reads "additional monthly fee will apply." Hmm.
The 720p TV Cam connects to the Revue via USB, features a 5x digital zoom and two directional microphones to pick up audio. The TV Cam only works with Logitech’s Vid HD software which comes pre-installed on the Revue. Looks like no cross-platform calling to Skype or other video services. On the bright side, Vid is available for Windows and Mac OS, too.
Logitech’s Google TV products are already available for pre-order and should be shipping (and available at brick and mortar retailers) by the end of October. Supposedly Sony’s Google TV HD sets and Blu-ray players will be launching around the same time--we’ll know more about those next week when Sony holds its October 12 press event.
Now that you’ve seen the hardware and the price tag, where do you stand on Google TV?