Google TV: Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV

Does Google TV’s Android-based media hub deliver as promised?

Both the computer and consumer electronics industries have spent years trying to find the perfect solution for the connected home. Late in 2010, Google jumped into the fray with Google TV. Its purpose is to let you search and watch your pay TV services, schedule TV shows for your DVR, surf the Internet, and play media from a USB hard/flash drive or from networked computers. At the core of both the Logitech Revue and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray player is Google’s proprietary Android OS running on an Intel Atom processor. Like the Android-based smart phones, Google TV will have its own app store, although it wasn’t open at the time I was reviewing these two early models.

Google TV is essentially a software solution that acts as a media hub for controlling live TV and streaming content from a variety of sources. It’s being integrated into HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and standalone units. When it comes to the functions of these two devices, they are almost identical because of the shared Android user interface (UI). The bigger variable is the form factor. In Sony’s case, that includes a Blu-ray player built into the device, which provides even greater functionality and value. For brevity and ease of understanding the differences between the two units, I’ll first provide details about the Google TV platform. Presumably, all Google TV products will function similarly.