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Logitech Revue with Google TV: Hands-On Review

Google TV Spotlight and Queue

When you have a few dozen hours to blow, start with the Google TV Spotlight section. This seems to be where Google TV's "real" content goes to live. You can't go wrong with The Onion "news" broadcasts as a counterpoint to The New York Times. I watched Krull on Crackle for the first time since grade school. VEVO is the best thing I've seen for music videos in years, and Tune In, while visually unremarkable, is still a decent Internet radio repository.

The Spotlight section can be hit or miss. Two-minute snippets are not my idea of a Cartoon Network destination. I suppose I can't bash HBO GO for being useless to non-subscribers since Netflix is the same way, but I was pretty disappointed in the YouTube Leanback experience. The idea seems straightforward: You go into YouTube, type in a search phrase, and up pops a strip of video thumbnails that are hits for your search. (Keep in mind that this is YouTube, which isn't recommended for users under age 13, but would it really hurt the user experience if Google put a SafeSearch-type filter at the front of this YouTube widget?) This isn't so different from the results in a regular browser, but YouTube has pinched the results so much here that all of the video descriptions have been stripped out, making it harder to separate the wheat from the chaff at a glance. Simple is good, but this is a waste of real estate. I also found the user controls here strangely vexing at first, as I kept hitting the wrong things in the wrong way and not going to the videos I wanted. As for the "leanback" part of the experience, the idea is that Google chooses videos for you to watch based on your preferences so you don't even have to type anything. I'm not ready to say this is a positive development.

The Queue is a holding tank for various types of content to which you subscribe. Google makes getting started with the Queue easy by throwing an iTunes-like collection of podcast content at you across ten different interest areas -- everything from NASA footage to clay-mation comedies.

However, there are other ways to populate your Queue. You can send Web pages to your Queue for later reading. Some online TV series are Queue-able. Queue also supports RSS fees so you can stay current on your favorite sites. And again, if you're a DISH subscriber, you can have recorded shows pop straight into your Queue.

  • What "appropriate adapters"? Do they exist? Whar'zat?
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • topcold
    pinnacles don't happen in capitalistic systems
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  • 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.
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  • jamezrp
    Good read Will. I look forward to testing out the Revue myself.
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  • "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)
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  • cashews
    Once it has lan support I might give it a try, until then I can't see it replacing a htpc
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  • 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.
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  • 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.



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