Google TV is here. The ability to meld your Internet viewing experience with your cable or satellite TV is made possible through this well-designed operating system from the search giant Google Inc. Now, you can view your online content, such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube on the same setup as your Blu-ray movies and cable television shows. The first two set-top boxes to include Google TV are the Logitech Revue and the Sony Internet TV. These two devices both have Google TV at their hearts and souls and they both integrate well with Dish Network. But there are some key differences between these two Google TV boxes that you should know about before you buy.
What’s the Same?
The real feature worth talking about is Google TV—the Internet/TV OS that lets you install apps, watch online video, search online and other content right from your TV. Both the Logitech Revue and the Sony Internet TV box have this, and both of their interfaces are virtually the same. You can also access the Android market with both devices, which lets you install games, apps and other software onto your Google TV box. They also have the Chrome Browser pre-loaded, which lets you surf the web from your TV. They both support HDMI in and HDMI out, optical audio out and Ethernet ports and USB ports, too, which means you’ll be able to integrate your system into your existing home theater. They can also stream media from your computer via a WiFi network.
Price – Winner: Logitech Revue
The Logitech Revue, which retails for $299 is a full $100 cheaper than the Sony Internet TV, which is $399. But there’s a reason for that, which we’ll get to later.
Keyboard and Remote – Winner: Tie
The most apparent out-of-the box difference is that the Logitech Revue comes with a full-size keyboard while the Sony Internet TV box comes with an oversized remote that has a full QWERTY keyboard. Both are fine for their purposes—one lets you type as if you were at a computer, while the other is compact enough to slide into a coffee table drawer. You can also buy a wireless keyboard for the Sony Internet TV or a QWERTY remote for the Logitech Revue. It just depends on which you’d prefer.
Blu-ray Player – Winner: Sony Internet TV
This is what the extra $100 for the Sony Internet TV gets you. Simply put, the Sony Internet TV has one and the Logitech Revue has no Blu-ray player. That’s a great combo if you don’t already have a DVD/Blu-ray player. The Sony Internet TV can play back DVDS, Blu-rays, CDs and practically any other optical media, which makes it a great value.
Webcam – Winner: Logitech Revue
For an extra $150, you can buy an optional webcam that’s designed to be used with the Logitech Revue. You can use this for video calls, video chatting and video conferencing, right from your living room sofa. The Sony Internet TV doesn’t have a corresponding web cam option at the time of this writing, but it’s inclusion of USB ports doesn’t rule this option out.
The choice here is here is easy—if you want Google TV, get either of these boxes. If you already own a Blu-ray player or have no interest in owning one, get a Logitech Revue and save yourself $100. If you want a Blu-ray player and like the idea of the QWERTY remote, then get the Sony Internet TV.