What the New Set-Top Box Means for Google TV

The device maker brings Internet TV to life

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Bringing Google TV into your living room, device maker Logitech has unveiled its new $300 set-top box. The device harnesses the power of Google search to put traditional TV programming and Web videos all in the same place. According to CBS News, the service will include programs from "Time Warner Inc.'s TBS, TNT, CNN and HBO and others, as well as Internet video services operated by Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc." Here's what this new device means for Google and the future of Internet TV:

  • This Is Why It's Awesome, explains Cade Metz at The Register: "The settop lets you organize, search, and view broadcast television as well as content stored on other devices in the home and across the web. Using Logitech's existing Harmony Link hardware, it connects not only to your television but to PCs and other home entertainment devices and smartphones. It includes a Chrome browser equipped with a built-in Adobe Flash 10.2 plug-in, and various applications offering access to web content, including apps from Amazon, Napster, and Netflix."

The browser should allow virtually the entire world of video on the web, including video from sites like comedycentral.com and PBS.org, to show up on your HDTV. The accent is on 'should,' however, and at launch Google TV is already missing one of the key providers of web-based video: Hulu.com. The browser inside Google TV is technically capable of handling Hulu.com's massive library of free streaming video, but as of press time we were told Hulu is blocking the Revue from accessing its content. Google and Hulu are apparently in talks regarding the situation, but it's unclear whether that would be mean paid-for Hulu Plus access (at $9.95 per month) or full free access to the Hulu content available on a standard browser. We're guessing Google TV will get Hulu Plus once the dust settles, but there's no telling for now.

  • The Partnership With Dish Network Is Key, writes Devindra Hardawar at VentureBeat: "Surprisingly, Logitech brought out a Dish Network representative to promote the Revue’s Dish integration. Previously, it was assumed that Dish will integrate Google TV directly into its satellite receivers. That may still happen, but for now the Revue is Dish’s ticket to Google TV. The Revue will be able to communicate with Dish’s programming guide and DVR. The Dish rep also mentioned that Sony’s Google TV sets won’t be able to take advantage of Dish DVRs yet. The Revue box will be available for pre-order today for $299.99 (Dish subscribers can snag it for $179) at Amazon, Best Buy, and Logitech’s websites. Logitech expects the device to be on store shelves, and ready for shipment, by the end of the month."
  • This Beats Apple TV, writes Matthew Moskovciak at CNet: "Compared to the recently released Apple TV, the Logitech Revue with Google TV offers a much more extensive content options and comprehensive home theater integration. However, the $300 price is hefty and will be a sticking point for many people, especially with the Apple TV available for just $99. Still, in our brief demo, we felt like the Logitech Revue was able to live up to most of the hype surround Google TV, and we're itching to get our hands on a review sample and put it through its full paces."
  • What This Means for Google  Danny Goodwin at Search Engine Watch writes: "If this service takes off, Google will have yet more valuable advertising data about people's television viewing habits (to add to their huge database of web surfing habits). The inaccuracy of Nielsen ratings have been criticized for a long time, but Google TV would give a much clearer picture to advertisers. Although Google said they won't put ads on the service for at least a year, they eventually plan to sell ads that appear in the Google TV all-in-one search results. And, again, if it becomes mainstream, this could expand the number of people exposed to Google ads."
  •  CNet Reviews the Set-Top Box:
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