Google TV: Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV Logitech Revue

Logitech Revue

The Logitech Revue is a sleek, black plastic set-top box with a keyboard controller. The unit’s plastic enclosure retains fingerprints like sticky tape, so install it gently holding the sides or bottom. Once it’s placed, there’s no reason for you to touch it again.

The keyboard is a single piece of molded plastic. It’s extremely thin and lightweight, so it’s easy to hold and use. In addition to a full QWERTY keyboard, the controller has a trackpad at the top right, with navigational keys (D-pad) under it. There are also some direct keys for quick access, such as the Home button to go back to the Google TV menu.

There are buttons at the top of the keyboard that access your program guide and DVR recordings. Next to the navigational buttons is the Record button for your DVR. While it functioned just fine, it felt odd pulling out a full keyboard every time I wanted to watch TV.

The Revue ships with only the keyboard; there are no secondary remotes for just the main functions you might need for viewing TV. However, it’s not necessary since your other remotes continue to work. You will need the keyboard whenever you want to interface with the Revue.

There’s another alternative for control. Since Logitech owns the Harmony-brand remote, they created an iPhone and Android app to access their extensive database of IR codes. It was a breeze to download the app to my iPhone. Once I had it installed, I could not only control the Revue, I could control the other devices connected to the Google TV such as my DIRECTV box and Integra surround processor.

When I launched the Harmony app on my iPhone, it immediately discovered the Revue, and I clicked on the Connect button. Then it asked for a four-digit code that displays on the Google TV. Once I input the code, I was ready to rock. It immediately recognized my connected components and provided additional control screens for them. The app provided all the controls and functionality I needed. The simple and basic graphical interface displays white lettering over a gray background.

The keyboard is difficult to use in a darkened room since it’s not backlit. It is an RF controller, so it functions even when there’s no line of sight to the A/V gear. If you have any problems, Logitech provides a second cabled IR blaster and a port on the back of the base unit to plug it in.

If you choose to use the keyboard, there are dedicated buttons to power the Revue on and off, adjust or mute the volume, and switch the set-top box between live TV, the program guide, and the DVR. There’s also the trackpad that you can use for cursor control when you’re surfing the Web, navigation keys for scrolling the Google TV menus or Web pages, a Back button, and transport buttons (play, record, pause, skip forward, and skip back). The trackpad has a small surface, so it’s not the easiest to use. Also, while some functions require the trackpad, others require the diamond-shaped D-pad (navigation keys). Sometimes you can use either one. However, you’ll have to use the device for a while before you remember which keyboard function is best for the task at hand.

Logitech provides additional accessories for the Revue. There is an optional TV Cam ($150) that you can use to make HD video calls over the Internet. If the keyboard controller is too big and you don’t have a phone that uses the Harmony app, the Mini Controller ($130) in a small clam shell form factor may be more your speed.