Logitech Revue: The all-in-one Google TV system

Logitech has announced its new Google TV companion box, the Logitech Revue, at a packed press event in New York City - a device that allows anyone with an HDTV to access Google TV on their home TV.

Described as the first all-in-one solution for accessing rich content, the Revue lets users access content from multiple sources ranging from apps, the Internet, live TV, and DVR content.

Based on the idea that more and more people are sitting on their couch surfing the Internet while watching TV, the Logitech Revue acts as the all-in-one solution that links together TV, Internet, personal content, and smartphone capabilities allowing you do everything without getting off the couch.

What makes the Revue and Google TV "cool" is the fact that it combines so many options into one, easy-to-use system.

For example: let’s say you’re sitting on your couch and you decide to search for your favourite TV show using the Revue. Without the Revue, you would use your standard cable company issued remote control to access the menu and search for the live TV show. Or you may grab another DVR remote to search through recorded programs. With the Revue and Google TV, you simply pull up a “search bar,” much like you would on a smartphone or from your computer, and search the name of the show.

If you search for your favourite TV show (The Jersey Shore, obviously) using the Revue, the first result in the list may be the live showing of the program, the second might be last week’s episode on DVR, and the third might be a relevant YouTube video and then a full list of Google search results.

If you choose the YouTube result, the Revue will instantly pull up the YouTube link in the Chrome browser on your TV and the video will start playing the same way you would see it on your home computer - only you’re watching it on the TV in your living room.

The system also has bookmarked programs and favourites as well as applications that come preloaded on the Revue system.

If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, another cool feature of the product is its “dual view” capabilities, which allows users to search for information while viewing live content. The live content will continue to play on the bottom right corner of the screen while live search results take up the majority of the screen, great if you’re trying to find out if the actor you’re watching on your screen is single, or what the outcome was of last week’s game.

The Revue, $299.99, connects to any HDTV using the included HDMI cable to display in 1080p. Other I/O ports include: HDMI input/output, a wireless 802.11a/b/g/n and ethernet based 10/100 Base-T, audio optical output (S/PDIF), 2 USB 2.0 ports, an integrated Logitech Harmony Link IR Blaster for A/V device control and Logitech Unifying wireless technology.

The Revue comes standard with a Logitech Keyboard Controller, a full sized QWERTY keyboard with a touch and scroll pad that allows the user to communicate with their Google TV from the couch using RF frequency.

Embedded within the Keyboard Controller is Logitech’s Harmony universal remote technology, which means you can control all aspects of Google TV (including search, volume, and DVR controls) from the keyboard without having to use additional remote controls. We love that! There is also a Mini Controller, $129.99, which is basically a smaller handheld version of the keyboard controller that has similar features like a directional mouse and touchpad. Another cool accessory is the Logitech TV Cam, $149.99, which allows for full scale HD video chat from your home TV with anyone using a web cam.

The only downside is the fact that video chatters must be running Logitech Vid in order to chat. If you don’t want to buy an additional controller accessory for your Revue system, you can access your system using a Harmony App for iPhone or Android.

The Revue system is available for preorder now on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com with an estimated shelf and delivery date of later this month.

Logitech is also partnering with Dish Network and providing the system to Dish customers for $179.99, a whopping $120 off the retail price.

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