Google TV gets first ride on Logitech's Revue set-top box

Logitech's Revue provides the first glimpse into Google TV's capabilities and its promise (See video, below)

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The home screen provides quick access to applications, podcasts, videos, spotlighted programs and programs currently playing. Within the interface, programming and applications are broken down by category.

An application called Logitech Media Player also allows playback of video or music from home PCs. The device connects to a PC over a Wi-Fi network or Ethernet.

The companion box connects to a TV set or DVR boxes using an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port. The device also ships with a controller that functions as both a remote and keyboard. A smartphone application from Logitech can also convert an iPhone or Android handset into a remote control.

The device also comes with Logitech's Harmony Link technology, allowing the box to talk with and take commands from multiple devices such as home theater systems using infrared technology.

The device will ship for US$299.99, which includes the controller. The device is available for preorder starting on Wednesday, and will start shipping by the end of this month, Labrousse said. It will be available in the U.S. in retail stores like Best Buy and online retailers like Amazon. The company did not immediately comment on worldwide availability.

Logitech is also selling a number of accessories to complement Revue. An optional $149.99 high-definition video camera allows for videoconferencing at a 720p resolution with friends through the TV. The company is also selling a smaller controller for $129.99.

With Revue, Logitech will compete with the likes of Apple, which makes the Apple TV, and Roku, which offers a digital video player that streams content from the Internet to TVs. A number of TV companies such as Samsung also have their eyes set on using the Internet to stream movies and TV shows. Sony has already said it would provide HDTVs and Blu-ray players with Intel's chips and Google TV software built in.

However, the device won't be able to download movies from the Apple TV service. It is also missing support from popular video sites like Hulu.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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