I unboxed my Logitech Revue with Google TV yesterday and have been screwing around with it with great delight. It works as advertised: An “input one” device that slaps a Google-favored netbook-like Internet on top of your existing setup, embedding your cable TV into it and embedding it into your cable TV effectively. It’s intended to plug into your televisions primary input jack, not like a DVD player but the one your tuner or cable box or whatever is currently plugged into, then you plug your cable box into the Logitech device and light it up bro.
After you set it up fully, something that may take you about twenty minutes from unboxing to checking your Picasa albums with Real Housewives of Atlanta playing in the lower right (hey, the wife was with me), you can put your remotes in a drawer as this thing takes control of your television, your AV system and your cable box all from a slim keyboard and/or your Android phone. This is Android-based but you get an essentially full-featured Google Chrome browser that appears to do everything a computer browser would do including Flash. Yes, tabbed browsing. No, no adblock extensions. The only point at which I saw a sign of a lack of horsepower was cruising around in Street View getting a choppy though still acceptable frame rate but for everything else I’ve done so far it works fine. I look forward to a Google TV app market opening up, but on the other hand I still haven’t tried half the things already on this puppy.
It comes with a chic keyboard with a touchpad and other buttons for general navigation, a universal Search button, buttons to switch to TV, to embed TV into Google TV, DVR, fast forward/rewind, menu and more or less what you’d expect to find on a laptop keyboard. It’s intuitive: My wife, not a nerd, managed to figure out the basics quickly and completely on her own. Streams 1080p from Youtube nicely, type in HBO or Bravo or Daily Show to bring up episodes on demand — content that they are working hard to enrich, a CNBC app that looks like you’re watching CNBC except your Google Finance stocks are streaming on it and you can click around, you can email on anything with a webmail setup, not just Gmail. Netflix, Amazon VOD, some NBA thing, some Napster thing, Pandora. I haven’t messed with an Apple TV but from what I’ve read many of the things I’ve been doing with this device cannot be done with Apple TV. No?
I’ve got my Android phone hooked up to it for a normal sized master remote to control everything within Google TV and the rest of my equipment (the Google TV thing comes with an infared “blaster” that shoots signals to your other equipment, provided you feed in the model numbers of everything which was the only nuisance of the setup). I have no interest in this but I understand that if you get a webcam for this you can video conference presumably as you would on a computer. With all the Google cloud services available I can picture my parents (though not me) getting away with surviving just on this system with no computer which ain’t bad for $300. If you’d prefer a critique from someone who hasn’t been drinking the Google kool-aid all year read this.