46 Comments

Summary:

Logitech’s Revue, which went on pre-sale today, offers integration of TV and web content – except if you’re a cord cutter. The device’s hardware is optimized to work with set-top boxes and won’t play nice with over the air content. Oh, and Hulu doesn’ty play either.

hulu on logitech revue

I just got back from Logitech’s Google TV press event in San Francisco, and my first impression of the first Google TV set-top box coming to market is decidedly mixed. I had a chance to play with the box as well as the two input devices launched today a little bit, and I liked what I saw. However, with no access to either Hulu.com or over-the-air TV, it seems like cord cutters should hold out for other solutions.

But let’s talk a little bit about the things I liked first: The full keyboard had a nice feel to it. Light, but not too cheap. I was told by folks from Logitech that it can operate survive on a single battery charge for up to a year, and the fact that it comes with an integrated touch-pad should help all of us who have gotten used to surfing the web with our laptops while watching TV to transition.

Also promising is the integration of local content: Logitech’s media player app is DLNA-compatible, so it should have no problem accessing content from your local network, as well as any attached storage.

And finally, the integration of TV content is pretty clever: Dish Network users will get the whole deal, including the ability to search their DVR recordings from within the Google TV search.

Users of other cable or satellite TV providers won’t be able to tap into the DVR, but they’ll be able to access a provider-specific EPG based on their zip code, which is very similar to what TiVo has been doing for its customers. Want to know which news shows are playing right now? Just search for news, and you’ll be able to switch to any of your linear TV channels, or watch it picture-in-picture while you’re browsing a news site.

However, if you’re a cord cutter like me, none of this will work. Logitech’s Revue gets its traditional TV content via HDMI daisy-chaining, meaning that you’ll plug your cable set-top box via HDMI into Revue and then connect Revue to your TV.

Well, guess what: I don’t have a cable box. Instead, I’m accessing a few dozen channels over the air, many of which are broadcasting in HD. All I need for that is a plain old antenna, plugged directly into my TV. To access HDMI, I’ll have to switch inputs, meaning that I won’t be able to access Google TV and actual TV content at the same time. Folks from Logitech acknowledged this issue in a conversation with me, but insisted that the device is still a great choice if you only access online content with it.

One of the questions for many cord cutters has been whether you’ll be able to access Hulu with Google TV products. The answer is no, at least for now. Check out the video below to see what happens if you try with a Logitech Revue.

Google’s TV product manager Rishi Chandra, who will be speaking at our upcoming NewTeeVee Live conference in November, said in a Q&A session during today’s launch event that there is much more coming for Google TV: “This is a box that is gonna get better every day,” he told the audience. That may be true when it comes to online content — but unfortunately, there’s no way that Logitech can bring linear over the air TV to cord cutters with Revue’s current hardware.

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  1. You seem to be obsessed with the OTA TV thing. Couldn’t you just get an external HDTV receiver and plug it in? They sell them at the local drugstore for $40.

    1. Yeah, you can find standalone DVB-T HD tuners for $19, I’m even sure they could easiily add drivers support for all types of USB tuners.

    2. Are you talking about digital converter boxes? Those don’t have HDMI either, which brings us right back to square one.

      1. Any DVB-T Tuner with HD support obviously comes with HDMI don’t they. Those are very cheap.

  2. I’m feeling better and better about Roku choice, Netflix and Hulu Plus for $20 a month = good deal!

  3. I think what they meant by Hulu is thhe app and UI integrated version whhich they have to negociate for. Obviously the browser based hulu.com is going to work just as well as on your computer. That’s the whole point of including a full web browser and full flash support! Basically this means it supports 100% of all videos you can find on the web.

    The trick is to provide a lean back optimized UI to access 100% of all web videos in full screen. I think even third party apps can be added to adapt lean back UIs to control any web video contents.

    There is no way for content distributors to exclude Google TV, if they broadcast online, it will work on Google TV no matter how many ad or paywalls there might be, if they broadcast on cable/satellite and over the air, Google TV will provide a full layer of interactivity and search on top of it.

    The legallity of Google providing online DVR functions for all chnnels or overlayed ads on top of third party contents without consent, it’s to be seen.

    1. No, we are talking about Hulu in the browser. Hulu.com currently blocks access from Google TV devices, as demonstrated in the video. Yes, there might eventually be ways around it, but as of now, the Logitech Revue is not able to access Hulu.

      1. That says more about Hulu’s problems than Google TV. Why does an advertising-supported website turn away viewers?

      2. Changing browser user agent to normal Chrome would be a piece of cake. So if Hulu.com insists, users will find ways around it easily. Hulu cannot detect that their website is accessed using Google TV box vs any normal web browser.

      3. In any ways, it makes no sense that Hulu Plus would work on devices like PS3, XboX, Roku and other and then not work on this.

      4. Charbax, Hulu Plus is not the same as the regular Hulu.com. Device makers that carry Hulu Plus have agreements with Huu, and they get a different set of content. In some cases it’s more (whole seasons of some shows), but in many cases it’s less (many shows are not available at all through Hulu Plus-enabled devices).

  4. You are simply wrong: as a harmony-remote technology based device, Revue can flip the channels of your TV with ease, and I bet it can show the menu for you. So it can do just as much as it does for the cable companies. Your TV already has the tuner, and will be getting the signal directly, so what’s the problem?

    1. Harmony may be able to change the channels, but it won’t be able to display any web content or EPG together with OTA TV content.TVs have those on different inputs, and the best remote control technology in the world can’t make up for the fact that your TV won’t simultaneously display content from one of its HDMI inputs and its ATSC tuner.

      1. Buy a tuner then, if you want to take advantage of the Google TV box. What’s the problem? Not sure what’s lost: if EPG will be displayed without the OTA TV content overlay, and you can switch to the channel with one click on the remote, it is still more than having no EPG at all with OTA TV. :)

      2. John, the whole premise of Logitech Revue is that it can display web and TV content together. E.g. watch TV picture in picture while you surf the web…

  5. Seems like they should just integrate an OTA tuner into the Revue. Add a coax jack and allow people to hook up an antenna if they desire… then the box is capable of connecting to both local and online content (and it gives you something to watch if your network’s out).

  6. JANKO U TOO R A MORON. OVER THE AIR… GIVE ME A BREAK. FIRST OFF WHO HAS THAT ANYMORE, OH YEAH MY GRANDMA, NO WAIT SHE HAS BASIC CABLE, ITS MY GREAT GRANDMA. 2ND IF YOU HAVE OVER THE AIR YOU DEFINITLY CANT AFFORD THIS ANYWAY. AND IL AGREE WITH YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HULU, ITS ABUMMER BUT THERES SO MUCH MORE THAT OUTWAYS THE GOOD TO THE BAD, WICH IS JUST HULU, COMPARED TO OTHER SETTOPS; EVEN THE ONE, OR IS IT TWO, THAT HAVE HULU. SO WHAT YOU DO IS DDOWNLOAD ZINK AND BOXEE ON YOUR LAPTOP AND HOOK IT TO YOUR HDTV OR RECEIVER AND THERE YOU GO.

    1. I use over the air, love it too. Rich and crispy HD channels for free, duh, who wouldn’t use this. I also use a ps3 to watch blu ray, and stream netflix. A coax connection would be simple and appreciated. Oh, and I’m not 100 years old either.

    2. Joey
      Gee thanks Joey! I also use over the air and Netflix and Hulu Plus not interested in Cable thanks! Thanks for the Zink and Laptop tip but I was just looking for box to add to my TV not a Command Control Center.
      Also your caps lock is on and it sounds like you need a nap.

    3. Well if you did that then why the hell would you need Google TV then? I built and HTPC where I have a nice frontend setup which gives me access to my local content (movies, cartoons etc), Zinc, and Windows Media Center. I have 2 OTA dual tuners which means I can record 4 shows at the same time. Which means I have no need for Hulu Plus since ALL of their content is stuff you can get OTA.

  7. If Google Tv (Logitech style) were a fish, then I’m a bicycle.

    1. if you are a human, then I am God ;)

  8. You’re 100% wrong about the OTA problem. A quick google search revealed products to me that are OTA receivers (remember the government issuing coupons for these things?) that have HDMI output

    Here’s one: http://www.buy.com/prod/212488929.html

    I’m sure you can find more

    1. So yeah, you can buy another $100 box to make a $300 box keep its promises. And you think Google is going to provide an OTA EPG for the 3 people that actually do this?

      1. If only 3 people do it then there isn’t enough demand to warrant doing anything about it. I’d also like to see OTA available, but for the minor use I get out of it (NFL football) I’m not going to worry about it too much.

  9. @Joey, your keyboard is broken buddy.

  10. Logitech’s Revue Shuns Hulu (Video) Thursday, October 7, 2010

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