Today Logitech held a press event to unveil the Logitech Revue with Google TV companion box. But before I go into the specifics of the box, allow me to refresh your memory concerning what Google TV is exactly. Back in May Google held its annual Google I/O developer conference; it was here where they detailed Google TV. In essence, Google TV is software that integrates TV and the web on one screen. GTV’s most prominent feature is search. Typical situation: You’re hanging in the living room and want to watch an episode of Top Gear but you have no idea when and where it airs. Simply tap the search button on a compatable keyboard (more on the hardware later) and type “Top Gear” into the search bar. Within seconds GTV will provide you with all kinds of relevant information about the show. In addition to letting you know at what time and what channel it airs on, you will be provided with the show’s web page and YouTube videos. That’s right–GTV searches live television, your service provider’s guide listing, and the world wide web. But it does more than this. GTV comes installed with the Chrome web browser giving you access to virtually every website on your HDTV. And yes, the browser supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1. With the DualView function, you can enable picture-in-picture only this time that means you can browse the web and watch TV simultaneously. Typical situation: You’re watching a baseball game and want to check on your fantasty team and player stats. DualView is your friend here.
Watching TV and searching the web for TV-related content (or just for fun) is only the beginning. GTV also supports apps. Though the Android Marketplace won’t be ready for the service until 2011, GTV will come preloaded with a bunch of useful apps. Twitter, Pandora, Napster, VEVO, blip.tv, The New York Times, USA Today, CNBC, NBA GameTime, Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, HBO GO. Google is reportedly in talks to bring Hulu Plus to the service as well. Google provides YouTube and a media gallery to browse your photos and video. In addition to app and developer support, TV networks have agreed to optimize their web portals for viewing on GTV. For example, Turner Broadcasting has been hard at work tweaking GTV optimized sites for TBS, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim. No doubt more networks will follow suit.
So I think you get it by now. Google TV brings TV and the web together in one space–your HDTV. Cross-platform search, web browsing, and apps. Now you must be thinking how can I get Google TV on my television? Here’s where today’s news enters the picture.
Logitech Revue is a companion box that hooks up to your HDTV, cable/satellite box, and the Internet to bring the Google TV experience to you. Want hardware specs? You got it. HDMI In, HDMI out, audio optical output (S/PDIF), Ethernet port, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, 2 USB 2.0 ports, integrated Logitech Harmony Link IR blaster, and Logitech Unifying wireless technology. Setup is simple really. Connect the bundled HDMI cable to the Revue box and your HDTV, bridge together the Revue box with your cable/satellite box with another HDMI cable, and hook up the Revue box to the Internet (either direct to Ethernet or to your wireless home network). That’s it. And how do you interact with the GTV interface? With the included Logitech Keyboard Controller of course! The full QWERTY keyboard resembles a standard PC keyboard but also comes equipped with a touchpad, D-pad, dedicated search and DualView buttons, and remote control buttons. It speaks to the Revue box (which in turn talks to the rest of your TV setup) using Logitech’s proprietary wireless technology. Logitech Revue with the Keyboard Controller will sell for $299.99 when it releases at the end of the month. READ MORE Google TV ready for primetime (part 1): Logitech Revue