Logitech's Google TV launch (live blog)

Join us on Wednesday for live coverage as Logitech officially launches the Revue, the first home video product to incorporate Google TV.

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone
10 min read
The Google TV home screen.
The Google TV home screen. Google

Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary and questions from our readers. For those of you who just want the basic updates, we've included them in regular text here. To get the key points from today's announcement, you can check out our summary post here.

Transcript of live blog starts here:

2:48 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) Hi everybody! I'm out here in San Francisco, and John Falcone of CNET will be arriving shortly in NY to bring you live coverage of Logitech's launch of its Revue set-top box, the first to arrive with the Google TV software.

The event is expected to start about noon PDT/3 p.m. ET. Logitech CEO Jerry Quindlen is sitting right in front of me in SF. He's fired up for the event but wouldn't spill the price beforehand, which was disappointing.

2:54 p.m.: (John Falcone) Hi Tom... we're getting ready in NY. They just opened the doors a few minutes ago.

2:58 p.m.: (from reader IntenseDoug) Logitech site already shows price - $299.99

2:58 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) So, that answers our first question.

3:02 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) A Logitech PR person just warned us to shut down as many wireless devices as possible. Good luck with that.

3:02 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) Jerry Quindlen, Logitech CEO, repeats the plea for the wireless devices to go off in SF. They're setting up excuses for demo fail already.

3:04 p.m.: (Matthew Moskovciak) Slogan: "If you can think it, you can watch it"

3:05 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) This is just the beginning of Logitech's involvement with Google TV, Quindlen says.

3:06 p.m.: (Matthew Moskovciak) Currently going over all of the content sources that are available, from internet video to cable/satellite TV to content stored on a home PC.

Highlighting how content sources are fragmented between laptops, TVs, and phones.

Also the problem of managing all the hardware devices in a single home theater.

3:09 p.m.: (Matthew Moskovciak) "62% of adults have watched video online. Google TV integrates all the content from broacast and the web into a single unified interface on your TV. Android platform and runs Chrome browser. Android Market will be available in 2011."

3:10 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) Nobody has been able to bring content together in a single interface, Quindlen says. Both the hardware and software have been lagging, and nobody's crazy about hooking up a bunch of wires. Plus, you've have to have navigated between multiple different user interfaces, which can be confusing.

3:11 p.m.: (Matthew Moskovciak) Why is Logitech the best choice for Google TV? "Our innovations have been around navigation, control and wireless design." Highlighting Harmony remotes.

3:11 p.m.: (John Falcone) Logitech has a 70% share of the universal remote market. Logitech has also sold more than 78 million webcams. Until now, there hasn't been a unified platform for the living room.

3:13 p.m.: (John Falcone) Logitech Revue controls your devices, provides access to your content, on one screen.

Showing the main controller, which is basically a PC keyboard with a touchpad

3:14 p.m.: (John Falcone) Harmony Link is built into the Revue box.

You can also use "smart devices" such as iPhones and iPads, with remote apps, or existing Harmony remotes.

3:15 p.m.: (John Falcone) The Revue has a built-in IR blaster that will control external devices in your home theater system.

Control apps will be available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

3:16 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) In SF, Ashish Arora is talking about Logitech's history of innovation with PC device. They think that with Google they can transfer all of that to the television. Arora is vice president and general manager of Logitech's digital home group.

3:16 p.m.: (John Falcone) A smaller, DiNovo-style keyboard will also be available for control.

3:17 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now, we're getting a demo of the Revue on-screen.

The presenter is highlighting the Google search bar, which is available at any time.

3:18 p.m.: (John Falcone) He's searching on Top Gear, getting results from the DVR, YouTube vids, and web sites.

Selecting the YouTube link brings up the Chrome browser, where the full Flash video is available.

3:19 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now choosing DVR recordings, which shows all of the recordings on the attached DVR.

3:20 p.m.: (John Falcone) About to highlight "Dual View." Dual View gives you a picture-in-picture view, live video in the corner, with a Web search overlay.

3:21 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now, the presenter is highlighting the need for a Web-optimized controller.

3:22 p.m.: (John Falcone) Keyboard Controller is thin and light, smaller than an average PC keyboard. (It's wireless, too.)

3:23 p.m.: (John Falcone) There's an integrated touchpad on the right side as well. Anyone with Dish Network will have advanced integration with Revue.

3:23 p.m.: (from reader Shaggy) Dish Network is offering it to subscribers for $179 - http://www.dishnetwork.com/googletv/

3:24 p.m.: (John Falcone) If you don't want the default large keyboard, Logitech also offers a mini keyboard controller--not much larger than a smartphone.

3:25 p.m.: (John Falcone) "The third controller is your phone. Can be an Android phone or an iPhone."

3:26 p.m.: (John Falcone) Touchscreen remote apps offer gesture support.

Apps also support voice search.

3:27 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now he's watching a video on an Android phone, and "sharing" it with the Revue.

This looks all but identical to the AirPlay feature that Apple will be offering soon.

3:28 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now we're getting a tour of the home screen.

Bookmarks are shown as large thumbnails on the screen.

3:29 p.m.: (John Falcone) You can bookmark Web sites, apps, and channels.

There's also a full podcast app.

3:30 p.m.: (John Falcone) Highlighted apps: CNBC, Photo Gallery, Chrome browser, help assistant, Media Player, Vid HD camera, Napster, NBA Game Time, Netflix, and Pandora.

3:32 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now we're getting a demo of streaming audio from a connected PC using a TwonkyVision server.

3:33 p.m.: Recapping that you can use all your existing gear with the Revue.

3:34 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now we're getting a demo of video calling. Logitech will also sell the Vid HD camera, which plugs directly into the Revue. This 720p HD vid camera enables video calling in the living room.

3:35 p.m.: (John Falcone) The Revue-compatible product is simply called "the Logitech TV Cam." Yes, this is a separate/new product from the existing line of Logitech PC webcams. But Logitech is promising a plug and play experience.

3:36 p.m.: (from reader pengo76) Video camera is $149 and mini controller is $129 http://www.logitech.com/en-us/smartTV/accessories

3:36 p.m.: (John Falcone) The interface is designed for a large-screen TV. Just choose the icons of the contact ("friend") you want to call

3:37 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) We're still about 10 minutes behind in San Francisco, but the demo gods are being extremely nice to Logitech with its CEO in the room. We're seeing how the video on YouTube on the phone can be sent to the big-screen.

3:37 p.m.: (John Falcone) This app uses Logitech's own Vid HD service, however. Logitech previously mentioned that there's no reason that a third-party developer couldn't also develop a compatible app for the Revue (e.g. Skype, etc.).

3:39 p.m.: (from reader latad1285) Just confirmed by Dish Network customer service, if you buy the Revue from them, you'll be charged an additional $4 per month. However if you buy it retail for $299, there is no extra monthly fee.

3:39 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now we're getting a live demo of the Vid HD service in action.

3:40 p.m.: (John Falcone) HD video looks great, but audio leaves something to be desired (typical speakerphone quality)

3:41 p.m.: (John Falcone) The camera has two microphones. And that's the end of the video calling demo...

3:42 p.m.: (John Falcone) He's recounting the available apps now--

finally, pricing: $299.99 with keyboard controller

keyboard controller is $99.99 separately (for replacement, etc)

TV Cam is $149.99

Mini Controller is $129.99

iPhone and Android control apps are free

3:44 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now Michael Kelly, EVP of Dish Network is on stage

3:46 p.m.: (John Falcone) He's showing the existing Dish DVR, as paired with the Revue. Searching the DVR's contents is, apparently, a Dish exclusive feature, at least for now. "Plug and play setup with HDMI"

3:47 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now we're back to the Logitech rep.

3:48 p.m.: (John Falcone) These products should be available for pre-order today on Logitech.com, BestBuy.com, and Amazon.

ship date: "by the end of this month"

3:50 p.m.: (John Falcone) Now it's Q&A time

Q: "What cable providers will this work with?"
They say it will work with all providers, but will have an extra level of integration (DVR search) on Dish.

Q: "What wireless tech is used for the controllers?"
The keyboard controllers use RF control--Logitech's Unify technology, not Bluetooth. The phone controllers work via Wi-Fi.

3:51 p.m.: Q: "Any integration with Hulu or other networks?"
Right now, Hulu is blocking the Revue box, but Google and Hulu are in discussions.

3:52 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) Ship date was end of October, for all those asking.

3:53 p.m.: (John Falcone) The IR blaster is built into the front of the box, and should work in most environments, but you can add standard wired IR blasters if needed.

3:54 p.m.: (John Falcone) The Revue uses HDMI passthrough (1.3a)

3:55 p.m.: (Matthew Moskovciak) He just mentioned MKV support off-the-cuff in the Q+A. We'll try to confirm that afterwards.

3:55 p.m.: (John Falcone) Demoing the Netflix app now--looks identical to the old Roku version

3:56 p.m.: (John Falcone) There will be a specific Market for Google TV that will launch in 2011. The Google rep is re-affirming that the product already works with Flash.

3:57 p.m.: (John Falcone) "Any Web site is accessible with Google TV."

3:58 p.m.: (John Falcone) At least, that is, any site with standard HTML and Flash--if you need a specific plug-in, that could be a problem. A question from the audience about using Google TV for cord-cutting.

[Re: cord cutting: the Revue works as its own video source, and with external boxes, but you can't overlay the video from a TV's built-in tuner.]

4:01 p.m.: (John Falcone) The Dish rep is affirming that "this isn't the end of Sling."

4:02 p.m.: Here's our first in-depth look at the product: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20018763-1.html

4:02 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) We're finally wrapping up the main presentation in SF. Logitech's CEO says 2-3 weeks for shipments, and touts preorders at Amazon, Best Buy, and Logitech's own site. He breathed an audible sigh of relief that the wireless devices in the room didn't totally crash the demo.

4:03 p.m.: (John Falcone) The Logitech rep is confirming that the software/firmware is updateable, as we'd expect.

4:04 p.m.: The Google rep is noting that they're working on an SDK, and trying to make existing Android apps as easy to transfer to the new platform as possible.

4:06 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) Dish confirms in SF that Sling can be integrated.

4:07 p.m.: (John Falcone) What's being discussed now is the idea that, going forward, they'll be able to build search hooks into the apps so when you search for programming, you'd get results from "within" specific apps and services.

4:08 p.m.: (John Falcone) Re: the cost of the new Vid HD camera: it's because the camera itself has the video compression built-in.

"If you pre-order today, you should receive your box by the end of the month."

4:09 p.m.: (John Falcone) here's our exclusive hands-on video first look: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20018763-1.html

4:10 p.m.: (John Falcone) Reps are confirming that you can connect FAT16/32 USB drives directly to the unit (to browse local media). That's in addition to accessing media from a networked PC. Previously, they promised "broad codec support."

4:11 p.m.: (Tom Krazit) My reserve battery power has kicked in, so I'm signing off from SF. Stay tuned for more Revue/Google TV coverage across CNET later today.

4:13 p.m.: The Google rep is confirming opt-in privacy options and saying you can go into settings and opt out again at any time.

4:15 p.m.: (John Falcone) Right now, there's no support for multiple users. May come at some point in the future.

4:16 p.m.: (John Falcone) Embedded browser is Chrome v5, should operate identically to PC version.

4:17 p.m.: (John Falcone) That's a wrap here in NY.

Thanks for everyone who joined us and participated.

Today is a big day for Internet video fans. We'll be getting our initial in-depth look at the first Google TV product, Logitech Revue. Google's already revealed quite a bit on the newly updated Google TV teaser site, but we'll finally be getting the most important details, including (presumably) the release date and price.

Logitech Revue

The main press conference will be in New York City at 3 p.m. EDT (noon PDT), with a smaller, simultaneous event in the San Francisco Bay Area. CNET will be covering both live, on this page using Cover it Live. Be sure to stop by and experience the event in real time. (Sign up below for a reminder e-mail.) We'll also be following up soon after with wrap-ups, impressions, and hands-on video of the product in action.

Next week, we'll get to do it all again when Sony launches its Google TV-powered Internet TV on October 12.

In the meantime, check out our related coverage:

Google tries for Android sequel with Google TV

CNET's Quick Guide to Internet TV

Editors' note: The original, pre-live-blog version of this story was posted October 5 at 1:06 p.m. PDT.