The Revue launched last year for about $300. Today you can pick one up for just $99.99. The box was one of the first products to ship with Google TV software designed to bridge the gap between computers and televisions.
Here’s the idea behind Google TV: You stick an internet connected box by your TV and users can search for things to watch whether they’re on the web, on your DVR, or on cable or broadcast television. The Google TV software is also based on Android, and Google recently rolled out a major update which brings a version of the Android Market to Google TV devices. That means you can install a range of third-party apps including Pandora and CNBC.
Here’s the problem with Google TV: it’s only as good as the content available. Many of the top online video sites have gone out of their way to block Google TV, which means if you bought a Google TV box with the hopes of watching Hulu or Fancast on your big screen TV, you’re out of luck. Neither site supports the Logitech Revue or other Google TV devices.
Ultimately you’re better off going with a product such as a Roku or Boxee Box that comes from a company that has actually worked with Netflix, Hulu, and other online video sites to make content available. Or you could just do what I do and shove a computer by your TV.
Still, Sony is continuing to sell a Blu-ray player with Google TV for about $200, and the company has a line of televisions with built-in Google TV software as well. Google is also continuing to highlight new apps for the platform, including a recently launched AOL HD app, and a new recipe finder from Allrecipes.
It might be too early to put the nail in the coffin for Google’s television dreams. But Logitech’s move to abandon the platform certainly puts it on life support. Unless Google manages to sign another partner, the only way you’ll be able to use the service will be to buy a set top box or TV from Sony.
On the other hand, if you’re holding out hope Google will continue to push out software updates improving the service, now’s as good a time as any to pick up a Logitech Revue for $100.