Let me start out by saying the Logitech Revue with Google TV is pretty sweet. I’m calling this a first impressions post though, since despite it being a production release, I still feel it is in its infancy and slightly unfair to judge just yet. I also do not subscribe to any sort of cable/satellite service, so I’m not able to test its full functionality. From what I’ve heard, having it hooked up to a subscription service really makes the product shine as it helps control your TV and DV-Recorder.
The packaging for the Revue is nice, and on par with any Apple product. It sounds funny to say, but I was impressed that not only did it come with Duracell batteries, but they were pre-installed in the keyboard. The device itself was very easy to install, and guided you through the setup process quick and painlessly. Between the device, keyboard and RF blaster (included – it also looks like the device itself has a few RF blasters built in it to hit those devices near by) it functions splendidly as a Harmony Remote.
The app selection for Google TV is a bit slim at the moment, and lacks the marketplace application Google is developing to get more. (Some say that Google is actually asking hardware makers to stop including GoogleTV in their systems until they can further developer it) Notable apps included are Pandora, YouTube, Netflix and Twitter. All of them work great, although the Netflix browsing seems a bit clunkier than on the X-Box 360 or AppleTV. Perhaps Twitter will tie into your other apps or TV watching (Do you all want to know what I’m watching?), but I don’t see myself bringing up the Twitter app during viewing to post – I have a phone, iPad or laptop to do that.
My other gripe is the Android platform. I like Android, but it has some issues with its multitasking. Similar to Android based phones, its not clear which apps are running, and sometimes even less clear how to shut them down. I’d love to see the addition of a task panel which shows all the apps running and gives quick access to enter them and/or close them. This was especially a problem when multiple apps are running audio at the same time.
The search function of GoogleTV is awesome – even without a subscription to cable or satellite services. Type in “Will Farrell” and suddenly you have a list of YouTube movies, websites, and movies that star him. The Kevin Bacon (embedded below) is no joke – it really is that easy.
The Google Chrome browser is top notch and with the included Flash Player, you have access to many videos online. Unfortunately, a lot of major sites block the GoogleTV from watching its shows (notably Hulu). It boggles my mind why content providers would opt for this route. I’m guessing it has to do with licensing issues, but this is the future folks – get in now and get it right before someone else does!
If you buy it now, you need to be ready for the typically early-adopters pros and woes. Honestly, at the $250-$300 price, I can’t fully recommend it at the moment – maybe the future app store will change my mind. At that price point, I’d recommend going for an X-Box 360 since you can rent movies, stream NetFlix, Last.FM and (come January) have access to HuluPlus with your Gold Membership. If you want to have the latest tech toy though, the best web browsing experience on a TV to date and be able to search TV, web and other content sources lightening fast – the Logitech Revue may be for you!