Everything You Need to Know About Google TV 
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Written by Dick Ward   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The long awaited launch of Google TV is finally here and we couldn't be more excited.  We've heard more than our fair share of rumors, and even passed on some of the more reliable ones, but we've finally got the official details on the entire Google TV lineup for 2010.

What it Does

For starters, let's talk about what Google TV is.  It's not a product in and of itself, but a platform that runs on specific hardware.  Think of it as Microsoft Windows or Mac OS, but for your television.  Any piece of gear that has it will have the same capabilities, all of which revolve around internet based content. Using the Logitech Revue, Sony's Internet TV or Blu-ray player you'll be able to browse the web as if you were sitting at a computer.  Want to watch a video or play some games?  No problem, since the Google TV has full Flash support, unlike most similar solutions.

Of course, you won't have to browse the internet to get your content, since there will be a wide range of apps created to serve your needs.  If you're looking for something on Netflix, Amazon on Demand, Pandora or another online source, there's a good chance you'll find an app on the home screen that will get you there faster. One of the biggest sources of content, Hulu, isn't available yet through Google TV, and you'll only find a message saying that you're blocked if you try to access the site through the web.  The folks at Google are working on it though, and say not to count them out.

If all those web apps aren't your thing, you can get to your content by simply searching for it.  A quick search will find you the show or movie you're looking for across a variety of sources so you only have to know what you want to be able to watch it. Even better, if you've got a compatible DVR – every DISH subscriber does – you can hook it to your Google TV device and your recorded content will be included in the searches too. That's incredibly useful for finding shows you want to watch, and making up for the stuff you forgot to record.

Depending on your service provider and set-top box, you may be able to use Google TV as your main interface as well, recording and playing content as well as accessing On Demand videos.

Logitech


The Logitech Revue was the first piece of Google TV gear announced last week and it definitely turned a few heads.  The Revue is a standalone box that incorporates the Google TV platform, allowing you to scroll up internet based content and browse the web itself.

Logitech Revue

Setup is as simple as it gets.  You simply need to plug the Revue into your TV via HDMI and attach an Ethernet cord and you're ready to go.  You can browse the web, utilize apps and do everything else that Google TV is capable of directly through the box itself.

Of course, to search the web, you'll need a controller suited for the purpose and Logitech delivers.  The Revue comes packed with the Logitech Keyboard Controller, which is a wireless keyboard that boasts a built-in track pad, a full size QWERTY keyboard and hot buttons for quick access to important controls.

If you're not happy with a full size keyboard – it's a little big to keep lying around – you can pick up the Logitech Mini Controller.  The mini controller is more akin to a smart phone in terms of size and utilizes four directional buttons instead of a built in track pad for control.   The Mini Controller is six inches by three and a half inches, so it's comfortable to hold, and it boasts the same hot buttons as the keyboard controller, as well as a special button to represent the left click of a mouse.  You'll be able to pick it up for $129.

Revue Keyboard

Logitech also offers an HD webcam called the Logitech TV Cam that will let you make video calls with up to a 720p resolution.  It uses Carl Zeiss optics and features a wide angle lens that will capture your entire living room, leaving you free to relax and have a chat. The TV Cam has two microphones built in to capture the best sound quality possible and you can both call and receive calls with the device.  To enable video for the other party, they'll need to have a similar setup or at least download the app from Logitech.  The camera itself will run $149.

Logitech also boasts both iPhone and Android apps that turn your phone into a controller for the system.  You can even program your phone to turn on your TV, the Revue and your cable box with the touch of a button.  The Revue itself will be coming later this month for a price of $299.  Preorders are occurring now.

Sony

Sony took a different direction with their Google TV offerings and may have outdone Logitech's impressive unit.  Not only are several Sony Internet TVs on the way, but a Blu-ray player as well. The Internet TV contains the same functionality of the Revue, but adds built-in WiFi, four HDMI inputs, four USB inputs and, of course, a TV.  Also unique to the Sony Internet lineup is Qriocity, Sony's own digital delivery service.

The 32, 40 and 46 inch Internet TV models all have LED edge backlighting to provide a bright picture and strong contrast ratios.  Sony's smallest model, the 24 inch NSX-24GT1, sports traditional CCFL backlighting, but still offers up a 1080p resolution like the rest of the line.

Each of Sony's TVs will come with the RF QWERTY handheld keypad remote that actually incorporates an optical mouse into the device.  It's also quite a bit smaller than it looks, fitting comfortably in the hand. They'll also be able to connect to mobile phones with controller apps, but you won't see that functionality until later this year.  Sony surprised us all by launching their sets cheaper than expected.  You'll be able to pick up the tiny 24GT1 for just $599, while the 32, 40 and 46 inch versions will run $799, $999 and $1,399 respectively.

Sony Google TV

Perhaps the most interesting and definitely the most unexpected offering is Sony's NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player.  It features the same Google TV goodness as the televisions, but can play back Blu-ray discs as well. One thing that sets the NSZ-GT1 apart from the Internet TV line and almost every other Sony product on the market is the design.  It doesn't have rigid right angles at the corners, it's got a trapezoidal shape and it's not black – not entirely.  Aside from the top panel, the Internet TV Blu-ray player is so white that you could easily mistake it for an Apple product at first glance.

The NSZ-GT1 offers four USB ports, just like the televisions, and also like the sets it boasts built-in WiFi capabilities.  It comes with the same controller and essentially does the same things as the TVs.  The big difference is that of price – Sony's Internet TV Blu-ray Player comes in at just $399.

 

Are you going to pick up a Google TV enabled device for your home theater?  






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