We here at STG Labs received a Logitech Revue to review and we both took some time alone with the device to get 2 different unbiased reviews of the Revue. Google TV mixes all of the streaming services that you love (Netflix, Pandora, Napster) as well as online content like Youtube and mashes them with content from the web.
You can be watching the newest episode of “Family Guy” in the PIP (picture in picture) while reading the “Times Online”. There are a few applications that have already arrived on the platform notably Netflix, Pandora, and Napster with more promised in the future. With the advent of the Google Chrome Store I think we will see more and more apps show up in the future. Now onto the hands on.
The first thing that I noticed was the touch pad. I enjoyed the ability to two finger scroll but then I tried to double tap with the pad and wasn’t able to. No big deal, there is a click bar right below. to my dismay the click bar did not work in some applications. Sometimes you had to use the “ok” button located on the keyboard rather than the click. This alone not a big deal but it would be nice to see overall likeness with navigation on the device.
Continuing on, the first thing I did was Navigate to to Hulu, this is the perfect stage for Hulu content, to my dismay, there was a message stating “Viewing from the Google TV is not available at this time” the message did hint that they were working towards an agreement for the Hulu Plus users but it was un-availble at the time of the review.
Then I checked out the Netflix app. I logged into my account no problem, but went to play a movie and it didn’t work. I tried a different movie didn’t load. Tried a different account, nothing…
*Note this was tested by all 3 users and we were unable to play Netflix movies with any of our accounts.
I’m not an active user of Twitter, but I did notice there is a Twitter application available.
I performed a couple of quick google searches and they seemed to work alright.
The keyboard made for a great way to interact with the TV. Logitech makes good products and they also stand by there products. Being such a new device there are some bugs that need worked out but they can easily be fixed with a firmware update.
Final thoughts: This device would be a great addition to any system if the cost was a little bit cheaper but at $300 I don’t feel that it is worth it at this time.
Bringing together web and media makes for a very rich experience. I have found that the Google TV like the i-Pad is a great content “consumption” device.
User interface: The user interface is a little on the confusing side, There is a place for applications such as chrome and Netflix and then there is a “Channels” section that is links to websites such as Amazon on demand, it is hard to distinguish where you would find certain things. Youtube has a new “mode” on the Google TV, leanback mode which takes the movie and puts it into full screen like you were watching a movie from netflix. One thing that was a little bit annoying was the screensaver coming on in the middle of a movie that was purchased from Amazon on demand, again not a big deal just a minor inconvienence. The search functionality is great, it searches youtube and the web but unfortunately not Netflix or USB attached devices. I would like to be able to click search and find the media I am looking for whether it is a song from my library or a video from Netflix. I do have a HP Media Smart Server (Twonky) in the house and it serves up DLNA content over the network. The built in Logitech Media Player was able to find the content and display it without any issue. As of right now the following standards are supported:
- MP3 – MPEG-1 Layer 3
- MP4 – AAC
- M4A – AAC
- OGG – Vorbis (Only when a USB device is connected to Revue)
Video (Currently in Beta)
- MKV – H.264/AVC
- FLV – H.264/AVC, H.263
- MTS/MT2S/TS – H.264/AVC
- AVI – H.264/AVC, DivX MPEG4, XVid MPEG4
Keyboard: I found that I did have to look down at the keyboard when ever I was going to click in fear of hitting the back button which is very close to the left click button on the mouse. I do like the two finger scrolling it feels very natural to scroll in this way. I did not have a problem with not being able to click on the touchpad, I just adapted and used the buttons. The keyboard is very lightweight and it is a good fit for the product. The extra keys are mapped out well and I do like the one click search button located near the bottom of the keyboard. Another great addition to the Google TV is the Harmony remote application for Android. This is a free application on the Android market and it works great with little to no lag controlling the TV as well as the Google TV.
Final thoughts: I would purchase this device. The way I look at it is it can only get better from here. I have already retired my Apple TV in favor of the Logitech Revue. The device is a little bit pricey but it is cheaper than building a HTPC (Home Theatre PC) and it has an operating system that is very quick and very responsive. I only hope that Google TV does not become the next Google Wave.