Users interested in turning their TV set into a Web-surfing computer can satisfy that need by using Google TV via Logitech's Revue companion box and controller.
Google TV is the search engine's TV-Web content and application cocktail. It's powered by Android 2.1 on machines running an Intel Atom chip, with Web apps, such as YouTube, accessible through the Chrome Web browser.
eWeek spent the weekend of Oct. 22 through Oct. 25 with the modest-sized Revue box and controller, which, at $299 from Logitech.com and in Best Buys stores is, for our money, the way to procure the service. Sony Internet TVs and the $399 Blu-ray player are too expensive for our taste to run Google TV when you can get Revue.
eWeek tested Revue with Google TV on a 46-inch Toshiba LCD TV, a Sony digital A/V receiver and a Motorola Set-top box fed by AT&T's U-Verse service.
Configuring the box takes some time-there are 12 steps-especially if users want to use the Logitech keyboard to turn the TV, set-top box and A/V on and off, as well as change channels.
You'll want to make sure to have handy your home WiFi network name, zip code, and the make and models of all devices you want to connect to Revue.
Once configured, we experimented with the lightweight but full QWERTY keyboard, which was quite comfortable. A quick-search button sits between the function button and control button, bringing a search bar down atop TV content in a rather unobtrusive manner.
We conducted several searches and quickly realized how attuned to entertainment content the special Google TV Search app is. Searches on TV shows returned both TV channel and Websites results.
For example, a search on CBS returned results for The Bold and the Beautiful, along with an option to go to CBS.com-though, of course, Website content is blocked from the system due to ongoing negotiations between Google and broadcasters.
A directional pad sits at the top right of the gadget, offering down or up arrows and easily marked back and home buttons.