Of the three devices I tested for my company’s Black Friday giveaway (details here); the Roku XD, the Boxee Box, and now the Logitech Revue powered by Google TV, this last one was the one I was most interested in seeing first hand. With Sony already picking Google TV up as a built-in feature on some of their new TVs, it pertains to be the clear front runner in the space with Boxee Box being the scrappy underdog. Did it live up to everything I was hoping for out of the box? Well… that’s a great question. The unit we purchased is apparently bunk; yep, that’s right… it doesn’t work… totally. Good times. Needless to say we’ll be sending this one back at which time I’ll REALLY be able to tell you if you want one or not… until then though, I’ve got some immediate notes I’ll share and then I’ll fill in the blanks later.
What’s in the box?
The largest and most expensive unit in the bunch (currently $299 on amazon.com), the Logitech Revue is a well appointed setup. The device itself is obviously in the box along with a Logitech keyboard with a built in mouse pad, arrow navigation pad, and a slew of other nifty buttons. It also came with it’s own HDMI cable, power cables, an IR extender in case you want to tuck your Revue away in an A/V rack somewhere, and various manuals.
The unit itself is about 10 x 7 and stands a little over an inch off the table, and one of the first things you notice about the back of the device is that it has an HDMI In and and HDMI Out… yep, it is meant to sit inline with whatever TV provider you have; more on that in a minute. The device also is equipped with 2 USB ports, 2 remote IR ports, and an Ethernet port, although the device can also connect wirelessly.
I’ll admit that the keyboard throws me for a bit of a loop. I’ve always equated a keyboard on your lap while sitting on the couch as something for only the ubergeek crowd (not that I’m above that) and not something that would be adopted by the masses. The jury is actually still out on that for me, but I will say that the keyboard is quite functional.
Setup and… crash
The setup of the device is where it gets interesting. Like the Roku and Boxee Box you’ll sign in with your Google account if you have one or create a new one if you don’t (unlike the Roku though, this can all be done without an additional computer) and properly adjust the screen size. The setup then starts quizzing you about your cable or satellite TV provider, what zip code you live in, what type of cable / satellite set-top box and DVR you have (if applicable), what type of TV you have and what port the Revue is plugged into on that TV, and finally what type of receiver you have (if any) and what port the Revue is plugged into that device. Whew! I wasn’t expecting a collegiate level final! After all this leg work though, I’m left with something brilliant; that Logitech keyboard can now turn on and off my TV, DVR, and receiver as well as raise and lower the volumes on all of the above and change between the inputs on all of the above. Oh yeah, and it even labeled the port on my TV menu that it is plugged in to. Pretty flip’n sweet!
The idea with all this is that the Revue can interact with and control all your other media devices… making itself the “media hub”, if you will. If you’ve got Dish Network as your satellite provider, it totally integrates itself with all the current set-top boxes and DVRs and apparently will allow you to search through content on the web and on your DVR / upcoming programming guides to help find what you’re looking for. You can set up DVR recording right from the keyboard with the touch of a button and a plethora of other neat things. Like the Boxee Box, you can also access file shares on your network and play / view certain file types off USB devices. That’s a pretty stellar line-up.
Does it actually do all that stuff? Well, I trust the reviews I’ve read, but I haven’t seen it first-hand yet. After you complete the setup there is this neat commercial about the device you just bought that you HAVE to watch before it turns you over to the awesomeness (Really guys? I mean, really? I bought it… I know what it does already, I don’t need to watch a 3 minute commercial about it), and a minute or so into the video the device crashes. Pretty cool huh? I’ve been through the same routine at least 10 times now and it hangs at the same place every time… and there is no way, at least that I can find, to get around it. Sweet!
Soooo, that’s what I know so far. I’ll be sure and pick back up where I left off with the Revue review once we get the replacement, but until then, you’re all stuck with the same cliff hanger as myself.
– Dan Thompson
Want to win a free Logitech Revue (that actually works… hopefully)? Click here for details