Google TV – An Initial Revue Review

RevueI’ve been playing around with the whole ‘HTPC’ thing for a few years now. I’ve had my go at MythTV, XBMC, Windows Media Center, MediaTomb, Ubuntu, etc. There were always hurdles to jump and integration was too expensive or just wasn’t possible. When GTV was introduced, I had high hopes of an elegant solution to a TV connected media box/PC and wasn't let down after recently receiving my Logitech Revue.

The initial reviews of GTV, from reputable magazines and blog sites, have deemed the Revue/GTV as sub-par. I’ve read the following ‘cons’:

  • -- Setup takes too long
  • -- Only integrates with Dish Network
  • -- Too complicated
  • -- It won’t replace your existing television provider
  • -- You can’t enter in a URL to go directly to a web page (you can only search)

Issues that were resolved in one of the first updates:

  • -- immovable picture-in-picture box
  • -- outdated Netflix app

- The setup probably takes about 15-20min (you are warned in the beginning). You have to realize what is going on in this initial setup: an initial software/firmware update, screen/resolution adjustments, the IR setup of your AV equipment so that you can control it all from the keyboard/remote, etc. The AV integration setup is similar to that of other Logitech Harmony devices and it’s all done on the TV screen through menus (MFR and model # is all that’s needed).

- I actually believed that it only integrated with Dish Network. I have DirecTV and after entering the model number of my satellite box, GTV was able to change channels, run the guide, menu, etc. Here’s another example of its integration:
‘Judge Judy’ was on CBS and I was watching ABC. I pulled up the search box and typed in ‘judge judy’. Several result options were displayed and the first one was ‘judge judy - now playing - WBBM’. After choosing this result, the channel was instantly changed to CBS.

- GTV is far easier to operate than any previous solution that I’ve used. It was never meant to replace your television provider. I read in Maximum PC: ‘If you wish to navigate directly to a website, you must type the URL into a search box and then pick out the link from the results’. This is false. Maybe this was an issue resolved in the latest update... The only issue that I have so far is the inability of switching the content of the PIP window.

The best part about GTV is that it overlays the current display on your TV. This just isn’t possible with other solutions. Whenever you wanted to use your HTPC, you’d have to switch video inputs on your TV; ugh, what a hassle. Another notable feature is that it seems to 'pause' the Flash player when you switch between web content and TV!

I think the GTV is excellent as it is and it’ll only get better with updates. I believe the networks that are currently blocking GTV (ABC, CBS, NBC, Hulu, etc. - via Adobe Flash signature/version) will smarten up and unblock in the near future. Why would they not want more content viewers? More people to sell ads to?
Currently at $250, you aren’t going to put together an HTPC with the same features and level of integration!

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One Response to “Google TV – An Initial Revue Review”

  1. Alison says:

    Just came across your posting, and just wanted to say how much I love the new google tv. As a DISH employee as well as customer I think its pretty sweet! It is so easy to use and makes searching for my fav shows a breeze!