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The Revue comes with a computer keyboard and HD camera for video conferencing
Logitech unveiled late Wednesday its new product for Google TV, the Revue, at a media event in San Francisco and New York City. The set top box comes with a lightweight miniature computer keyboard that allows users to type in what program or type of program they want to watch.
In all honesty, at first glance, I found the computer keyboard terrifying. It reminded me of when I was a teenager and I would babysit for families with really complicated TV systems, and I would inevitably press a wrong button on the remote and send the TV bugging out. And then a choice had to be made…do I call the parents and ask them how to work their TV contraption, or just read a book? It was never an easy question to answer.
Thankfully, the Revue’s computer keyboard is not just a really, really complicated remote. A demo revealed that it really just acts like a computer keyboard: you type in what you want to watch on Google TV and search through selections, whether they come from your TV’s cable or satellite service, digital media, the Internet, or apps.
The apps are another cool Revue feature. Revue will be releasing apps that will allow users to control their set top box with their iPhone or Android device and perform voice searches for content. Essentially, the Logitech Harmony app allows users to use their smartphones as a remote. Touching “watch Google TV” on the smartphone will turn on their TV, and so on. The app uses the same technology that is used in Logitech’s Harmony universal remotes.
Users will no doubt be wondering how Google TV on the Revue will compare with the recently released Apple TV. One surprising advantage that Google TV on the Revue has on Apple TV is content. On the Revue, Google TV offers video content via Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, NBA Game Time, VEVO, VoD, and Blip.tv, while Apple TV's video content comes through Netflix, iTunes, and YouTube. In terms of non-video content, Google TV on the Revue offers Pandora and Napster, while Apple TV offers Flickr.
One of Apple TV’s more popular features is AirPlay, which allows users to stream content wirelessly from their iPhone or iPad to their TV set. For example, you might start off in your kitchen watching last night’s episode of Glee on your iPad, and then walk into your living room and continue watching the episode on your TV. Similarly, Google TV via the Revue lets users “fling” what they’re watching on their Android device to their TV.
But possibly the most exciting Revue feature is the HD camera that will allow for video conferencing. Like the old-school webcams that people used to prop on their laptops or PCs, the HD camera looks like a webcam and is designed to hang on the TV, communicating with software built into the set top box as well as video software in Macs and PCs. Users will be able to zoom in digitally and pan left or right, but the video conferencing service is apparently restricted to those who have a Logitech Vid account, so it will not be universally available to all users.
The Revue is also capable of integrating with Dish Network’s programming guide and DVR, and Dish subscribers get a nifty little Revue discount. The Revue is available for pre-order now for $299.99, but Dish subscribers can get it for $179. Logitech anticipates that the Revue will be ready for shipment at the end of the month, and is also offering a smaller keyboard that it calls the mini-controller for $129.99.
Image source: logitech.com
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