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Logitech Revue Is Simple IPTV Solution

11/22/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

FREMONT, CALIF. — A recent evaluation of Logitech’s
set-top box for Google TV called the Revue showed
the device to be among the easiest on the market for
IPTV connectivity, and its optional video conferencing
add-on should give the system a wow factor through
the holidays.

Like Sony, which is bringing
Google’s much-hyped new platform
to select integrated Bravia
Internet TVs, Logitech’s Revue
set-top device — on sale at Best
Buy starting at a $299 suggested
retail — is offering customers
who have already made
TV purchases the opportunity to
add Internet access without the
price of a new TV.

Our recent run through of the
device proved the system’s user-friendly nature, and flexible
open Internet capability.

Like most other IPTV set-top systems, the Revue for
Google TV offers a range of service apps for Netflix,
YouTube, and others, but includes a Google Chrome
browser that enables browsing the open Internet for a
virtually limitless selection of favorite Web sites. Like a
PC, it will playback Flash-enabled streaming video and
audio content on the TV. That means users may access
TV and video services available to PCs that have not
been blocked to Google’s browser.

The main access device for the system is a very slicklooking
full-size wireless keyboard that is thin, light and
highly responsive.

To activate an onscreen cursor while browsing, the
keyboard offers a trackpad with the ability to do twofinger
scrolling.

Upon set up, the system prompts the user for the
make and model of each connected component in the
A/V system. This empowers the keyboard to serve as a
Harmony-style remote to operate various system components
connected to the Revue, but with a more limited
experience than one of Logitech’s Harmony remotes
would offer. Users can also control the system via Logitech’s
smartphone app, which has just launched from
the Logitech website for iPhone and Android devices.

The set-top box is a thin, flat and rounded pad-like device
with audio out, Ethernet port, two USB ports, HDMI
in and out, a Bluetooth pairing
button and two optional IR blaster
ports to reach out-of-the-way
components. The box is powered
by a 1.2GHz Intel CE4100 Atombased
processor, 1GB of RAM,
and 5GB of storage. For Wi-Fi
connections, the unit has a built-in
802.11n sender/receiver.

No additional HDMI ports are
required on the TV since the Revue
is designed to daisy chain
with a cable or satellite box and
the TV. The unit’s software will integrate content offered
by the provider under live TV along with the ability to access
an integrated DVR via the Harmony control codes.

Dish Network is said to offer a smoother integration
between select Dish DVRs and the Revue, and offers
the system for a special $179 fee, plus a $4 per month
integration fee. However, the system works reasonably
well with DirecTV and other services, too.

Making video calls is one of the hottest capabilities
of the device, enabling the family to place a video call to
friends and family from the sofa. To make calls from the
Revue, users will need to add an optional $149 TV Cam,
which sits on top of the display, and offers up to 720p
resolution.

Using a large TV screen makes video calls more practical
for family conversations than a PC webcam, though
buying setups for both ends of a call can be a price
proposition.

The Revue will also connect to other PCs in the
home to playback a variety of stored file formats, including
MKV, DivX, and MOV files, as well as music
and image files.

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