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Logitech Delivers Google TV to Living Rooms

October 7, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
A Review by Andrew Davis from the Wainhouse Research Bulletin

Web-cam and PC-peripheral giant Logitech, working with Google and other partners, has
introduced "Logitech Revue with Google TV," a compact, plug-and-play companion box (MSRP = $300) with its Logitech Keyboard Controller that together provide seamless control over the Google TV experience and home-entertainment devices and applications like videoconferencing. Logitech's portfolio of products for Google TV also includes the
Logitech TV Cam and Vid HD service for HD videocalls with HDMI-equipped TVs. Logitech is also offering the Logitech Mini Controller as well as other applications designed for the
Google TV platform.

"Logitech Revue with Google TV" allows people to use just one controller to find and enjoy content from a variety of sources - programs from TV providers; the Web, Flash-based
games; music, photos and videos from their personal library; and a growing selection of apps. Google TV is a software platform for settop boxes and HDTVs based on the Android operating system and co-developed by Google, Intel, Sony and Logitech. The project was officially announced by Google and its partners in May of 2010. In essence, this is a competitor to Apple TV (now $99), a small device that integrates podcasts, Internet radio stations, YouTube, some TV programs, and Netflix movies as well as programs for rent from the iTunes store with your everyday television.

Intel Atom-powered Revue essentially brings Google TV to existing (non-Internet-enabled) televisions. Physically, Revue uses HDMI cables to connect to 1) the TV and 2) the cable or satellite box. After power up, on-screen menus work users through the configuration process. The included wireless Logitech Keyboard Controller then allows navigation as well as control of the TV and DVR. A dual-view mode allows users to see TV while also viewing another app. An alternative mini-contolller without a keyboard is also available (MSRP = $130).

The wide-angle Logitech TV Cam ($150) connects to the Revue box using USB. The camera has a 5x digital zoom and two digital, directional microphones. The system also includes the company's Vid HD software service preloaded on the Revue box. If you receive a video call using Logitech Vid HD on Google TV, the TV Cam will blink to alert you of an incoming call. If your TV screen is on, you will hear an audible ring and receive a notification and caller ID so you can know who's calling - and you have the option to answer or ignore the call. If you ignore a call or are away from your TV, you will be aware of any missed calls thanks to a call
notification icon in the Vid HD interface or from an LED light on the TV Cam that lights up when you've missed a call - even when your TV is off.

Revue is based on Android, and comes with a variety of preloaded applications from Logitech. The company is also supporting smartphone apps that allow user to use the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or another Android device to control the Google TV experience. Like other Logitech products, Revue will be available online and in Best Buy.

In a separate press release, Logitech and DISH Network announced that Logitech Revue with Google TV and accessories will also be offered to existing and prospective DISH Network customers through both Logitech and DISH Network.

Andrew Davis' Comments: According to the Logitech web site Revue and the TV Cam support 720p videoconferencing. Revue is the first substantiation of the Logitech-Intel-Google alliance and promises to bring lots of innovation to the consumer market.

Two huge consumer videoconferencing announcements in the same day. It's too tempting to compare them.


Logitech Responds to Cisco umi Announcement
In the three hours between the Cisco and Logitech announcements, we received this email from Eric Kintz, VP and general manager of Logitech's video business. "We congratulate Cisco on bringing video calling to the living room - it's a great day for consumers and the video communications industry. We're excited to introduce our own HD video calling offering for the living room with our Logitech Revue with Google TV announcement later
today. We believe consumers want the best and most seamless experience which means
HD video calling not only from TV to TV, but also TV to PC or Mac (or vice versa). We also
believe consumers will want a free service and one that is integrated into a broader
entertainment experience, which is why Logitech is excited to introduce an integrated HD
video calling offering with Google TV."

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