Google TV is here, all thanks to the Logitech Revue with Google TV. Kevin Pereira and Milynn Sarley review the $300 black box that can transform your television with its wireless keyboard, smartphone app control, and wireless streaming features for Netflix, Pandora and PC media, all in 1080p.
What You Need to Know
The Revue is a little bit on the larger side of streaming media boxes
It includes an HDMI in for your cable box input
The device has two USB ports for thumb drives, webcams, etc.
There is a port for Ethernet in case you don't want to use Wi-Fi.
It also has an HDMI output to go to your TV.
There is no component in or out, so your cable box needs HDMI output, and your TV needs HDMI input.
Normally, you only get a remote control with most streaming media boxes, but the Revue comes with a full keyboard and touch-pad.
Google TV walks you through setting up all your home theater devices, like your cable box, receiver, etc, and then links your Google account to all this information, so you can retrieve it at any time.
As for the keyboard, it makes this process simple because it has a directional pad and a touch-pad with mouse clicks, although you can't tap the touch-pad as a mouse click, but that's minor.
It also has practically every shortcut you'd need for your cable box, receiver or television, so the whole thing acts as a universal remote control.
You can even macro keys on the keyboard to be other remote controls.
There's also an Android app that fully controls the Revue, so from the touch-pad to macros to voice searching, all the functionality of the keyboard is in the app (the iPhone one is on its way).
Of course, there's the Google TV interface, which is incredibly intuitive; once you've piped in your cable TV to the box, it's seamlessly integrated so Google TV acts as an overlay on top of normal TV.
?The interface is a little slow at times, but it's not terrible by any means.
Once you're set up, you realize that the internet is now fully integrated with your television, something that other boxes have tried many times, but never really accomplished.
As for the content, there's the full-featured Chrome browser, which loads practically any site on the web and it runs flash, too, but it can get a little bogged down with a lot of tabs open.
This is why major networks are blocking Google TV; it can stream anything on the web (we asked Google about this, and they said they are "committed to working with both device partners and content owners to enable users to access the full web on their HDTVs").
They are currently doing this with other networks like HBO and TBS, so we hope that SBC, CBS and NBC will follow suit.
You can buy most of this television content using Amazon video on demand, as well as stream movies from Netflix, music from Pandora and Napster or access Twitter and we're confident they're going to start adding more content apps very soon.
You'll also be able to stream music, pictures, and video from thumb drives connected to the box and other computers on the network; it will support DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4, and lots of other formats.