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Old 12th March 2012, 12:52   #1
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Default Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Some Background:
I don’t consider myself a gadget geek by any stretch of imagination. But I am one of those people who liked to have a decent technical/gadget setup (Television-Audio-Video-Computer-Internet-Mobile). Over the last few years, I worked towards getting all these things as per my liking and affordability. It was all pretty good. But soon I felt my entertainment set up had one major gap. Getting Entertainment and Internet content on my TV. There was of course a simple solution- which was hooking up my laptop to the LCD TV via an HDMI cable. This worked for occasional one time activities (like maybe watching a movie). But it was not the best way in many cases (Example, show a quick YouTube video to my daughter or a bunch of photos to the entire family) considering that the laptop takes its time to boot up and then the process of connecting it etc…

So I was pretty much on the look-out for a solution where the Internet content was available on my TV. Of course, there are TV’s that have some level of internet connectivity built in, but I could not change my TV just for this. I explored a few of the available media/internet streamers like Apple TV, Roku, Boxee etc… But all of them were closely tied to US content and would work best only in US. And I needed something that would allow me to basically browse anything on my TV.

I had also heard about this Google TV concept that had come out and it seemed to satisfy my needs perfectly. Google TV was an android based solution with some custom apps and a chrome browser built in. But unfortunately the Logitech device that implemented the Google TV concept-called Logitech Revue was priced at $300 (Rs15,000) and I did not think that my need was worth spending that much.

So things were at a standstill. Then, late last year I heard 3 pieces of news

1. Logitech calling the Revue a big mistake and deciding to stop production
2. To clear out the huge inventory they had, they were slashing the price to $99 from $299
3. Google said that it was updating the version of Google TV with Android 3.1 (the version running on tablets-Honeycomb). This opened the Android market to Google TV devices.
The first point worried me. But points 2 and 3 were convincing enough and in early February I purchased the Logitech Revue from Amazon.com. Actually in the January timeframe they had the device at $80 with shipping to India (Total cost $110). By the time I ordered it was $130 and I had to get a friend to bring it (The slashed prices made the device attractive and I think sales picked up).

How does it look like?
The Revue package includes a companion box and a small handy keyboard with a mouse pad and associated buttons built in. Couple of images below.
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Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-revue_box_back.jpg

What you need to use this:
Pretty simple. You just need an LCD/LED TV with HDMI in and a wireless internet connection. Optionally if you have a settop box with HDMI out (Like Tata Sky HD, Airtel HD etc) you can connect that also to the Revue

Setup
Setup is simple. Connect a HDMI cable from your settop box to the Revue. Another HDMI from the Revue to the TV. Optionally you can connect the Digital Audio Out to your Home Theater/AV receiver
Once you power on, the Revue takes you through some simple steps. In the US the Revue has tight integration with the cable boxes provided by Dish. Here in India that is not there. So while it does recognize the Set top box and passes the signal to the TV, It does not offer any intelligence.

Usage
When you switch on the default output is the output from the Set top box, so a regular user will not even realize that there is a Google TV platform underneath. Refer picture below for initial screen when you switch on the TV and the normal output which is the TV output coming through the Revue:

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.26.21.jpg

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.27.43.jpg

This is important because you dont want the complex start up procedure being complex to just watch TV


The fun starts when you pick the keyboard and switch on. The keyboard is compact and easy to use. Hitting the Home Key on the keyboard brings up the Menu. From there you can select ‘All Apps’, 'Live TV', 'Chrom', 'Youtube', 'Search'. Image below when you hit the Home Button on the keyboard.
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.28.20.jpg

From here if you select the 'Apps' button, you get the 'Apps screen'. and you can select from the list of App's installed (Similar to how you would do on a phone).

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.28.59.jpg

A bunch of them are installed by default, you can access the market from here and look for more apps (Downside here is that only Apps customized for Google TV is see via the market on the TV. But you can save the apk files for any app and upload it to your email or any file sharing site and then access the same from the Chrome Browser and install it on the Revue. Any App can be installed. If an App has been customized for tablets, it looks better. The Youtube App is probably the best one as it has been customized for Google TV. Some screen shots below
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.29.33.jpg
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.57.24.jpg
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.59.15.jpg



Another of my favorite apps is the Raaga.com App which has been customized for Google TV.

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.42.26.jpg

One major advantage of Google TV is that it has a full-fledged chrome browser which you can use to browse pretty much any website. This was one key requirement for me. Couple of photos of the Chrome Browser being used to access the team-bhp site.

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.41.40.jpg
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.41.23.jpg


Another useful feature is the Picture-In-Picture functionality. You can hit the PiP button on the keyboard and the TV broadcast gets reduced to a small window on the top right. You can then use any other feature/App or quickly browse. Quite useful if you want to quickly check up something related to what you are watching or just simply bored during ad breaks of the program you are watching.
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.43.27.jpg
Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.42.57.jpg

The next feature that I found very useful was the Media Server Apps. Logitech Media Server comes preinstalled and there are few others like aVia or Google Plex that can be installed. You can use this to stream media from any of your devices on the home network (Laptops, smartphones etc… ) The Revue also has a USB slot where you can plug in a USB drive with your media. If you have media with 5.1 audio, The Revue has an optical output which you can connect to your home theater/AV Receiver for 5.1 surround sound.

Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV-20120312-08.44.23.jpg

Good things:
  • A good Internet Access device at the current price ($100-150/Rs5000-Rs7500). (Has a bad point also. Check the bad things section)
  • Great Keyboard.
  • Can be operated easily by non technical people and hence useful for them for quick internet activities like checking email.
  • Supports full-fledged browsing via the chrome browser. So we don’t need to use laptop for lot of the regular stuff we do (Example: Online payment of some bills. Not fun to do on a smart phone screen)
  • Run Android 3.1. So plenty of App’s that work pretty well. Lot of App’s being customized for Google TV (Raaga is an example)
  • Nice Integration of your TV Set top Box. The Picture in Picture is a great feature
  • Media Server Capabilities.
  • Although Logitech has discontinued this device, Google TV is still being promoted. SO any changes/ updates should come to this device

Bad things
  • Logitech has discontinued the Revue. So any hardware issues will not be resolved. A random search reveals a lot of such issues. Thankfully I have not faced any.
  • Does not make sense if you have one of those ‘Smart TV’s from Samsung/LG etc…
  • People in US have lot of other alternatives like Roku, WD, Boxee etc… So just having a browser may not be a great attraction.
  • The Revue was cheap because they were clearing stocks, but otherwise, I don’t think it is viable to sell this device <$100. So other Google TV devices will be expensive.

So that’s a review of Logitech Revue with Google TV. Hope this review is useful for members. I am very happy with the device and it seems a great way to enable Internet on TV.
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Old 13th March 2012, 20:05   #2
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Thanks a lot for posting such a detailed review of the Logitech Revue, I am sure a lot of us will benefit from this review.

Also this review should be good for those folks as well who have Google TV in other forms, like the Sony BD player with Google TV, also some of the TVs also have Google TV.
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Old 13th March 2012, 21:06   #3
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

If this thread interests you, do also look at : The Networked Media Players Thread (Networked Media Players - Play External HDD Content on TV).

Thanks
R

PS - Thanks Rajeevraj. Am yet to read your review, but linking to the general thread for other readers.
PS2 - Hey, i see you are watching my X-trail video
PS3 - Do the annotations show up? The video would be kinda meaningless without it...

Last edited by Rehaan : 13th March 2012 at 21:07.
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Old 14th March 2012, 05:22   #4
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Excellent review, this was very informative. Few questions

1. It can play media from USB HDD, what all media types are supported both in Audio and Video?
2. Does it support Full HD videos (.mkv, and .m2ts formats)?
3. Does it support loss-less audio like FLAC?

I have a WD Media player, the only thing i do not like in that is the tiny remote without any display as i have to switch on the TV to select any song.
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Old 14th March 2012, 15:59   #5
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Also this review should be good for those folks as well who have Google TV in other forms, like the Sony BD player with Google TV, also some of the TVs also have Google TV.
Yes, this pretty much applies to any device with Google TV. I think there will be only minor differences depending on the hardware

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
PS - Thanks Rajeevraj. Am yet to read your review, but linking to the general thread for other readers.
PS2 - Hey, i see you are watching my X-trail video
PS3 - Do the annotations show up? The video would be kinda meaningless without it...
Thanks Rehaan. I was looking for a good video from Team Bhp to capture a screen shot and felt the Nissan one was a pretty good choice
I dont recall seeing the annotations. Let me recheck once more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Excellent review, this was very informative. Few questions

1. It can play media from USB HDD, what all media types are supported both in Audio and Video?
2. Does it support Full HD videos (.mkv, and .m2ts formats)?
3. Does it support loss-less audio like FLAC?

I have a WD Media player, the only thing i do not like in that is the tiny remote without any display as i have to switch on the TV to select any song.
I have not tested all of it. But as per their support site and feedback I have seen in forums it supports the following list
Audio
3GP (HE-AACv2/HE-AAC/LC)
AAC
M4A - (MP4)
FLAC (44KHz)
MP3
OGG
WAV (LPCM)
WMA (v9 Stereo)
Video (Container - Codec)
3GP - H.263, H.264, MPEG4
AVI - MPEG-4 Part 2 (v1,2,3), DivX (v5), XviD, H.264/MPEG4-AVC
MKV - MPEG-4 Part 2 (v1,2,3), DivX (v5), XviD, H.264/MPEG4-AVC
MOV - MPEG-4 Part 2 (v1,2,3), DivX (v5), XviD, H.264/MPEG4-AVC
M4V - MPEG-4 Part 2 (v1,2,3), DivX (v5), XviD, H.264/MPEG4-AVC
MP4 - MPEG-4 Part 2 (v1,2,3), DivX (v5), XviD, H.264/MPEG4-AVC
WMV - WMV3, WVC1
Images
BMP
GIF
JPG
PNG
TIFF (low complexity)

And as per what I have read, it actually does not support m2ts playback. This is more a bug on the Revue rather than anything to do with Google TV. So any other Google TV device (Sony) should support m2ts also.

I have tried only small USB sticks, but reviews indicate that USB HDD of upto 1TB is recognized and works fine.
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Old 16th April 2012, 14:43   #6
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Hey Rajeevraj, thanks for that detailed and comprehensive review! I picked up a Revue from circuitcity this week, and now have it installed at home (in India)

I have a few questions though, and hope you can help.

1) I plugged in my USB HDD, but how do you get it to work? The media server only recognizes PC sources connected to the wifi network for streaming (like an apple tv). I couldn't find a way to access a locally connected storage device. Has anyone tried this?

2) Most of the apps are connected to US only providers. Netflix etc. is expected to be this way, but even crackle (which has tons of free content) doesn't play. Has anyone found any workaround or crack for this?

3) When I launch the market, it says it needs an update and starts updating automatically, which is fine. However, there's no progress bar so I don't know how long it takes, and I've left it alone for upto 30 minutes and the update never completed. Now, without a working market app, an android device is terribly incomplete! Did you face any such issues? Should I just put the out-of-market app files (download from the net) on email and then install apps instead?

Thanks for any help. I'm just trying to make the most of this!!
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Old 16th April 2012, 16:13   #7
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Default Re: Review of the Logitech Revue with Google TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by ayushagarwal26 View Post
Hey Rajeevraj, thanks for that detailed and comprehensive review! I picked up a Revue from circuitcity this week, and now have it installed at home (in India)

I have a few questions though, and hope you can help.

1) I plugged in my USB HDD, but how do you get it to work? The media server only recognizes PC sources connected to the wifi network for streaming (like an apple tv). I couldn't find a way to access a locally connected storage device. Has anyone tried this?

2) Most of the apps are connected to US only providers. Netflix etc. is expected to be this way, but even crackle (which has tons of free content) doesn't play. Has anyone found any workaround or crack for this?

3) When I launch the market, it says it needs an update and starts updating automatically, which is fine. However, there's no progress bar so I don't know how long it takes, and I've left it alone for upto 30 minutes and the update never completed. Now, without a working market app, an android device is terribly incomplete! Did you face any such issues? Should I just put the out-of-market app files (download from the net) on email and then install apps instead?

Thanks for any help. I'm just trying to make the most of this!!
1. I have not tried a USB HDD. But it should work via the media player. May be you can try via the Avia Media Player (I think it is already installed, if not you can install it from the market)

2. I did get netflix to work. What I did was sign up for the free trial of one of the VPN services (Forgot the name). The same site has instruction on how to get Netflix to work via the Revue. It worked and I was able to signup in NetFlix for the free 1 month trial. Watched a few movies also. But then deregistered as I was not too keen on Netflix.

3. The market App update on Google TV devices has a bug. This is after they changed the market to Google play. Keep trying once in few days and it should work fine. That is how it worked for me. Otherwise you can download and install Apps direct from the web. Works fine via chrome browser. I have done this for a lot of Apps which are not officially supported in google TV but works fine. There is a general account on dropbox.com where a lot of phone/tablet apps tested to be working on Google TV is stored. You can visit googletvforums.org for further details.
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