Just about 24 hours after my Chrome Netbook arrived at my door, it’s cousin, the Logitech Revue showed up.
Geek that I am, I wanted to start playing with it right away. It’s pretty quick to set up the hardware. An HDMI cord from the cable box to the Revue, and another HDMI cord from the Revue to the TV. Immediately, the GoogleTV setup program starts running.
After I told the system the make and model of my cable box and TV, and a two-step setup of the WiFi, I was done. The keyboard was fully controlling the TV and cable box. I was pleasantly surprised how effectively the Logitech keyboard worked as a Universal Remote.
Of course, GoogleTV is much more than a glorified Universal Remote. I tried out what I consider the most important feature: The Quick Search Bar. The keyboard has a dedicated search button which puts a nice big search bar at the top of the screen. I typed in ‘Saturday Night Live” and immediately saw two live TV results, as well as NBC’s online video hub. Switching between live TV and Web results is quick and surprisingly smooth.
I tried the web browser and was happy to see that websites rendered nicely and when I needed to make the text larger, there’s a nice keyboard shortcut to increase / decrease text size. Browsing was zippy and just worked well. The Revue even has a slick picture-in-picture feature which allows you to watch TV in a small corner overlay (you can move the video to any corner) while you browse (or use apps) full screen.
GoogleTV offers apps in addition to TV and the Web. For now, there are just a few included apps, but GoogleTV is built on the Android OS, and conceivably could support the full Android App Marketplace via a future update. I quickly tried out the Netflix app, which works and looks very similar to the Wii or PS3 versions of Netflix. One thing I noticed is that Netflix offerings don’t seem to show up in Quick Search Bar results. If that was supported, the Quick Search might become my standard option for finding entertainment.
Right now, I’m writing this blog post on my TV from the couch, while watching live TV. My first impression is very good. Things just work, with very little set up, the user interface is clean and responsive, and the keyboard remote looks and works great.