Posts Tagged ‘Google TV’

Logitech Revue: Unboxing and First Impressions

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The Logitech Revue is one of two choices when connecting to Google TV. I reviewed the other choice, the Sony Internet TV, here. The Logitech Revue is not exactly cheap, but it costs a lot less than buying a brand new TV. DISH Network customers even get a discount on the device.

The Revue is pretty simple as far as hardware goes. There is a keyboard remote and a cable companion box. Setup is pretty easy. If you need a MAC address to connect a device to your network, you can view it for the LAN and WAN on the underside of the companion box. Other than making sure your network allows new devices, you simply answer some questions about your TV, cable company, and log into Google.

If you don’t have a set-top box or DVR from your cable provider, things get a little tricky. You can watch TV, but you can’t use the keyboard remote to control it. This means you can’t select a television show from Google TV either. You really need a set-top box or DVR to get the full value out of the Revue.

Searching for YouTube videos is easy enough. I looked at some of the pre-set applications as well, including CNBC, Netflix, and Twitter. These are Android apps, but you can’t currently access the Android Market. That feature is coming soon.

In addition to Android Apps, you also get Google Chrome. It is designed to behave just as Chrome would on your computer, but tabbed browsing can be a bit tricky. I Googled it from Chrome on the device, and it didn’t indicate a difference in tabbed browsing. There was mention of a menu button or clicking Control – T, but that was it. I poked around a bit more and figured it out. If you want to view open tabs or input a URL, click the search key at the bottom of the keyboard (it looks like a magnifying glass). You can input URLs here, and if you look at the far right you can see an icon for selecting open windows. This is not only for Chrome it seems, but for all of Google TV, as the home screen is included as a choice.

All in all, first impressions are pretty good. I am going to test it a bit more with DISH Network tonight, so I will discuss those impressions soon. The keyboard is really easy to use, and is far less complex than the one on Sony’s Internet TV. This means it is more accessible to the everyday user, not just geeks like myself who like the Sony version.

If you’ve tried the Logitech Revue, let me know what you think in the comments.

Sony Internet TV – First Impressions

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I spent some time with the Sony Internet TV. I chose to approach my test blind, without reading up on the controller functionality and such, in order to see how easy it is to pick up from a consumer’s viewpoint. Here are my impressions.

At first glance, Google TV via the Sony Internet TV looks pretty straightforward. I was able to change the channels easily enough, and to get the satellite menu open. The TV I tested was connected to DirecTV, interestingly enough. As far as the TV went, so far, so good. I was more interested in the internet side of things though, so I quickly moved on.

I had heard something about Hulu incompatability so I checked that out first. Sure enough there is an error message. See the image above. It was good to see that Hulu intends to make it work, even if it was not currently available. Hopefully the Hulu support will come soon.

The keyboard remote is pretty intricate. There are lots of choices available on a fairly small device. The remote is slightly larger than a video game controller, comparable in size to the Xbox 360 controller. There are some really obvious buttons, and some not so obvious ones. I poked around a bit without referring to the display, again trying to see how well the average person could navigate the device. In short, it wasn’t so easy.

I was able to figure out how to load Chrome easily enough. I also pulled off some Google searches and loaded YouTube. Pretty easy. I went to Twitter to file the obligatory Tweet, and ran into my first major roadblock. I use special characters and caps in my Twitter password, and couldn’t see an obvious way to input those with the remote. After a few trials and errors, I found out how to hold down certain keys to make it work. I logged into Twitter, posted a tweet, and moved on.

I tried the picture in picture while searching next. The WTA tournament was on, so I picked one of the players at random and did a search for her. I found her website easily enough and was able to keep my eye on the game while I read her stats. Searching and picture in picture worked pretty well.

Overall I had a pretty good experience testing out the Sony Internet TV/Google TV. As a nerd, I was pretty happy. I am not sure that an average Joe would be as excited though. The keyboard is really complicated. As Google develops the voice search features on Google TV, this won’t be as big an issue, but for now it is easiest for the tech savvy. I’m not saying that the average person can’t use the device, just that I am not sure they’d want to.

Like I said, I really liked the Sony Internet TV. I plan to get one in the relatively near future. My Logitech Revue is on its way and I’ll run some more Google TV tests with it. I think either way you go, Google TV has a lot to offer though. As I play with it more I’ll be sure to talk about it here.

Sony Internet TV Now Available for Pre-Order

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Sony’s line of Internet TVs compatible with Google TV is now available for pre-order.

At a launch event today, Sony announced pricing and size information. Sony Internet TVs range from 24 – 46 inches, and from $599 to $1,399. See the pricing info below.

Model Size Price
NSX-24GT1 24″ $599.99
NSX-32GT1 32″ $799.99
NSX-40GT1 40″ $999.99
NSX-46GT1 46″ $1,399.99

Sony offers a comparison chart to show what the Internet TV has over other vendors, including Apple TV. It is a bit skewed at this point, since the other vendors (excluding Apple) have yet to announce specs on their upcoming devices. As for Sony’s offering, check out the specs:

  • Google TV built in
  • Seamless search across TV & Internet
  • Dual View
  • Full Browser
  • QWERTY Keypad Remote
  • Upgradeable OS
  • Synch Phone & Control TV
  • Downloadable Apps

The Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player has all of the above features plus a couple more. There is the obvious Blu-ray Disc Player, and it connects to your existing HDTV.

Sony Internet TV is available now for pre-order on sonystyle.com. It will be available in Sony Style stores by the weekend. Best Buy will start carrying it on October 24. Welcome to the future of television. Sony will be the first among many other Google TV compatible televisions. I wasn’t terribly interested in 3-D TV, but the Internet TV by Sony is definitely worth a look.