Written by Michael Rohde Tuesday, 26 October 2010 09:15
|Logitech's Revue: Google TV at the Vanguard|
|Page 2--Google TV|
Logitech's brand new Revue, which brings Google TV to the big screen, holds much promise for the future while giving you something to watch right now; despite the major networks holding out on allowing their content to be accessed, unless you jump over to Amazon Video On Demand or Netflix Instant Watch.
I'm not the type of person that rushes out and buys each and every brand new device that hits the store shelves. If that was the case, I'd own an iPhone 4.0, an iPad, a Roku, and some kind of netbook. Instead, I patiently wait, study and weigh the pros and cons of each new technological wonder. It's because of that, and understanding Apple's now famous one-upping their products on a yearly basis that I held off on the latest iPhone and iPad. My 3G iPhone still works just fine and I can do what I want to do with it. And Apple TV leaves much to be desired.
In the case of Logitech's Revue, however, I saw an opportunity to be on the vanguard of Google technology. And I am a big Google fan and an avid user of Chrome, Gmail, Analytics, Documents (I haven’t tested this yet, but if Docs works as well as Gmail does on Google TV, then suddenly the Revue becomes a word processor on the TV using the cloud as a storage device), Groups, blogspot, etc. Plus, I've been itching for a reason to buy an Android phone; what's holding me back is the unfamiliarity of the apps. With Google TV, and the apps promised to be available early in the coming new year, I saw an opportunity to immerse myself in Android apps; while at the same time tweeting and listening to Pandora while leaning back in my chair-and-a-half with a cool mini-keyboard--complete with trackpad--on my big screen HD TV. And that's exactly what I did last night.
Logitech's Revue comes preloaded with much viewing content. But die-hard cable lovers won't be ready to cut that cord just yet. On the other hand, if you are sick and tired of paying hundreds of dollars per month just to watch a couple of shows and you're the type that likes to explore new avenues of content, then Google TV is for you. As for me, I’m in the Cancel Cable camp, and I no longer hand Comcast my hard earned dollars for hundreds of channels that I don’t watch. Therefore, this review is primarily geared towards using Google TV sans cable or satellite, which in some ways does nullify some of the Revue’s capability.
To get started, last night as I was exploring and learning the new interface, I immediately began streaming Pandora and then jumped on Twitter with music continually playing in the background. I then tweeted the most-necessary tweet, “I’m writing this from my Google TV,” or some-such obnoxious statement of how I just spent $300 on a brand new toy.
I then checked out the pre-loaded Netflix app, which basically presented all of the content in my Instant Watch. I did have to visit netflix.com/activate and type in an activation code; it’s the same procedure as with the Xbox 360. Speaking of the 360, the same presentation is basically used in Google TV in that you get a row of icons that you can scroll through to pick what you want to watch. At the present time, there are no recommendations on Google TV like what you see on the 360. However, you can fire up Chrome, visit Netflix.com, and you have the full functionality of that website at your disposal. Because MS refuses to put a browser in the 360, this is something you can’t do on the game console.
After Netflix, I gave Amazon On Demand a whirl. There are a couple ways you can go about using this service. The app version shows several categories, such as movies and TV shows and then provides the most popular or most viewed. You can then browse to your heart’s content. The second option is to visit Amazon.com, and once you again, you have the full functionality of that site at your fingertips.
So far, so good, Google TV.
Then, I wanted to watch Sunday Night Football. Having purple blood in my veins, I wanted to see the Vikings/Packers game. No such luck on Google TV. In fact, all of the networks have blocked their content; unless, of course, you access it through Amazon or Netflix. Let’s hope Google and the networks work something out fast... I put this negativity in the networks camp, who appear to be all buddy-buddy with the cable providers. My bet is that they eventually come around and unblock their content.
As a work around to watching the game, I fired up my laptop and watched football on NBCsports.com while I continued to play with Google TV.
As for the upcoming World Series, I discovered that I can watch through MLB.TV for $19.99, which includes various features such as HD, stats, Twitter integration and DVR controls. Being a San Francisco Giants fan, the World Series can't start soon enough.
Then there’s the new stuff (at least to me). I started browsing through Google TV’s Spotlight category and looked at the content the Revue wants me to look at. I found all kinds of stuff like CNET, CHOW, PBS, KQED, Engadget and a ton of other stuff.
I opened Engadget and immediately found a program in which some nerdy guy was interviewing Peter Molyneux and they had a hands-on demonstration of Fable III. Cool stuff. I’m impressed. Without Google TV I probably would not have found this content.