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Logitech Revue with Google TV: Hands-On Review

Logitech Vid HD

At the bottom of the setup summary screen, there's a More Devices button. If you have compatible devices plugged in, the Revue will detect them and take you through setting them up. Today, there's only one choice: the Vid HD ($150). Fortunately, Logitech sent us one to try out.

 

Setting up the camera is no harder than setting up a webcam. It's a simple USB connection, and Logitech throws in a USB extension cord (11 feet total) if you need more length to reach your wall-mounted TV. The two shots below show the Carl Zeiss lens of the Vid HD camera photographing me and my setup process at night. Lighting in the room was intentionally very dim -- just two CCFL bulbs off in the corner and the glow of the 50" plasma screen. Logitech webcams have historically been best of breed under poor conditions, and the Vid HD proves no exception. The first image shows the default wide view while the second is zoomed in. The Vid HD features 5X digital zoom (no optical). Under normal conditions, we found the zoom combined with pan/tilt a great way to crop out unwanted backgrounds without having to monkey with repositioning the camera. Normally, I dislike digital zoom, but with a 720p native resolution, the Vid HD's zoom isn't bad.

Here are some different views of the camera. 

         

     

 

I found the mounting quite versatile and convenient. Note the two directional microphones on each side of the lens. These work together to form an array, which (combined with some internal signal processing) helps to dampen noise and better isolate speakers for improved voice clarity. The stereo directionality carries through to the other end of the connection, so as a caller moves from left to right across the display, you'll hear that person's position move accordingly in your stereo or surround speakers.

Since the Vid HD is a Logitech-centric device and service rather than a Google-centric one, there's another account setup needed for Vid. Again, it's very simple and quick.

  • What "appropriate adapters"? Do they exist? Whar'zat?
    Reply
  • San Pedro
    I just hooked up my PC to my TV with an HDMI cable. That works pretty as a media center, pc, and gaming console.
    Reply
  • Hey Will, you can already do voice searches on the Revue using the Harmony app on your Android smartphone.

    It's found on the keyboard screen.
    Reply
  • topcold
    pinnacles don't happen in capitalistic systems
    Reply
  • spoonless_eddie
    Can I see this on my PC? over the net? with open-source software? Can I copy this content to watch on another machine, when I am unplugged? Can I give it away, or donate it to charity, when I am finished with it?

    A fool and his money are soon parted.
    Reply
  • jamezrp
    Good read Will. I look forward to testing out the Revue myself.
    Reply
  • "I couldn't see a way to create or otherwise use bookmarks from within the browser."

    I suggest pushing the dedicated bookmark button (it's a star) on the keyboard. It matches the yellow star theme that Google has used for bookmarks across many different products. (Google Maps, Chrome, Google Bookmarks, Google Docs, Google Reader, etc, etc)
    Reply
  • cashews
    Once it has lan support I might give it a try, until then I can't see it replacing a htpc
    Reply
  • williamvw
    mtthwgrms"I couldn't see a way to create or otherwise use bookmarks from within the browser."I suggest pushing the dedicated bookmark button (it's a star) on the keyboard. It matches the yellow star theme that Google has used for bookmarks across many different products. (Google Maps, Chrome, Google Bookmarks, Google Docs, Google Reader, etc, etc)Bam! You're quite right. Somehow, I totally missed that. I just tried it: went into Google Docs, hit the star button, told the pop-up to make the link into a bookmark, and there it is in my Bookmarks section. (Note also that the pop-up gives you the option to send the page to your Queue rather than the Bookmarks.) That said, I think the thing that threw me was the bookmarks being separated from the main Chrome UI. Perhaps it would be more intuitive if there was a small icon in the corner of Chrome that spawned a fly-out bookmarks menu? Food for thought. Still...my bad, and thank you for the correction, mtthwgrms.
    Reply
  • topcold
    "I couldn't see a way to create or otherwise use bookmarks from within the browser. "

    Have you tried using the keyboard shortcuts from the PC browser? (I don't know if that works, but people are saying most of the keyboard shortcuts are the same)


    "but Google can't let the same riotous sprawl hit living rooms that we've seen on its smartphone marketplace"

    Its called 'choice' - if you want someone else to make the choices for you, you could always get Apple TV ;)


    "Perhaps this is why Google is waiting until next year to open up its TV app store and broaden its functionality."

    No, here is why: Each version of Android has certain compatibility definitions manufacturers must follow if they want to be considered a fully compliant Android device.

    They don't have to - but then they don't get access to the proprietary Google apps, like the market)

    So, amusingly enough, according to Googles own guidelines, Google TV is not a compliant Android device (for instance, version 2.1 of Android requires the device to have GPS - obviously Google TV doesn't have a GPS nor need one) - so instead of giving themselves permission to break the rules (and risk lawsuits and angry manufacturers) they adhered to the rules and didn't add the market.

    Now the next version of Android is very close, and there they can make sure to phrase the new rules for requirements in such a way that Google TV will be compliant. And since the new rules apply to everybody, nobody need get upset.



    Reply