Google TV: Your home’s information headquarters

Discussion in 'Google TV General Discussion' started by Rickaren, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Rickaren

    Rickaren New Member Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2010
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    Logitech Revue with Google TV: Your home’s information headquarters

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Electronics

    Gift: Logitech Revue with Google TV
    Manufacturer: Logitech
    Rating: Editor's Pick
    Gender: Both
    Age: All Ages
    Price: Over $200

    Has the time finally come for a merging of Internet and television content that will appeal to a good chunk of the 5 billion people who use a TV? If it has, Google Inc. has positioned itself to champion the convergence.

    Fifteen years after WebTV (later MSN.TV) tested the waters with a product that never gained the widespread acceptance its backers expected, Google TV has arrived. The approach is new and the device benefits from faster Internet download speeds and endless amounts of online content that simply were not around when WebTV failed to catch hold.

    Like new set-top boxes from Apple and Roku, Google TV allows users to stream Internet movies, televisions shows and music to their TV sets. There are no monthly fees except for those charged by premium content providers, such as Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand.

    Google TV expertly combines existing cable or satellite television service already in a home with its Internet-connected firmware to become a giant search engine of all online content. Type in a search for ‘Mark Wahlberg’ and up comes five options, including a click to view link to an interview airing at that moment on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ Other search results include TV and web videos with Wahlberg, a Wikipedia listing, a link to ‘Entourage’ shows for rent on Amazon.com, and the Google Internet search results. Sorry librarians, but the TV set is now the place to go for instant information on any topic, from Mark Wahlberg to the Book of Mark.
    At the moment, there are three ways to bring Google TV into a home. Sony offers a Blu-Ray player and a television set that are both Google TV enabled. Logitech has a set-top box and wireless keyboard that works with existing HDTV televisions. The Logitech Revue ($299) is the most affordable option, if you’re not in the market for a new TV set. Of course, if Logitech’s add-ons like the TV Cam ($149.99) and Mini Controller ($129.99) catch your eye, the bill will eclipse the $399 price tag on the Sony Blu-Ray and controller.

    We opted to try out the Logitech setup because of pleasant experiences with some of the company’s other devices, namely the Harmony remote control and some excellent iPod speaker systems. From a hardware standpoint, Logitech’s Google TV equipment is superb

    Setup is simple, unless you are trying to bring television content into the box from an over-the-air source and not a cable of satellite box. That approach, while doable, is not the intended use of Google TV and requires a TV tuner with HDMI output.
    Once television content is flowing into the box and TV and Internet information is coming from it to the TV via an HDMI cable, the rest of the Google TV experience centers on the full-sized keyboard. Here’s where Logitech’s system excels. While there’s a learning curve involved, the keyboard holds a button for every function you can imagine. Turn on the TV, check the TV guide, switch from Internet to TV, put the television picture in an inset box, adjust the volume, call up a Google search window – there are buttons for all of these operations, and more.

    There’s also a touchpad in the top right corner for moving the cursor around and a click bar right next to it. For those who don’t want a large keyboard, the Mini Controller is a palm-sized controller designed for thumb typing. Instead of a touchpad, there’s a combination touchpad/D-pad that controls the cursor and Internet page scrolling. The other option for controlling the Revue box is via a free app for smartphones. While the Harmony app gives users a surprising amount of control, it is difficult to use due to the small screen.

    Consumers who make video calls will want to check out Logitech’s TV Cam. It mounts onto your television and features a 5x digital zoom so you can narrow in on your face and crop out the messy room behind you. The camera, which connects to the Revue box via the USB port, allows for 720 p high-def video streaming to friends and relatives using a Web cam with Logitech’s VD software. That can be either another Revue with TV Cam user or someone with a PC or Mac setup. If you are watching TV when a vid call comes in, a box with Caller ID will pop up giving you a chance to decide if you want to talk to your mother or keep watching your show.
    Google TV currently has a dozen apps that include a version of the daily ‘USA Today,’ an NBA live score center that features some video highlights, YouTube, Vimeo, Pandora and a number of others. This library should quickly increase when Google opens the door to app developers in January.

    Apps aside, one of the more enjoyable uses so far is surfing the Internet while watching a small TV inset screen. Want to know a running back’s stats and history while watching the game? It’s now so easy. The size of the inset box was an issue at first, but in a firmware update this week Google gave viewers the ability to increase the size to a quarter of the screen and to move it into one of the four corners. So now you can watch your favorite local TV newscast while reading Bostonherald.com.
    Article URL: Logitech Revue with Google TV: Your home’s information headquarters - BostonHerald.com

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