Faster Forward: Google TV review, part 1: Setup and online

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By Rob Pegoraro
Friday, October 22, 2010; 11:58 AM

The keyboard-equipped remote control for Logitech's Revue--one of the first gadgets to ship with Google's Google TV software--should tell you the most important fact about this wireless-enabled media receiver: This thing is a computer inside.

That's both a compliment and a complaint. This $299.99 device can do far more than such simpler, cheaper devices as the Apple TV and Roku boxes I reviewed two weeks ago. But it's also a nuisance to set up and, through zero fault of Google or Logitech, runs into phony compatibility issues on the Web. And it's complicated enough to require two reviews: one to assess its initial setup, another to grade how well it works with cable and satellite boxes.

The first sign of trouble in its setup routine comes after you've plugged in its power and HDMI cables, slid a switch on the keyboard to activate that, and are asked to adjust the picture onscreen so you no longer see a blue margin at its edges. Somehow, the Apple and Roku devices could figure out my HDTV's resolution on their own. Those boxes also don't emit a noticeable whine when they're on.

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After getting the Revue on my wireless network (it was a relief to type a password on a real keyboard), the device then claimed it lost the connection and stopped responding while trying to download a software update. After a reboot, it finished the update and then stopped responding a second time.

After my second reboot, I signed in with my Google Account, was asked to identify a TV service and then was asked to name the make and model numbers of my video hardware--pop quiz, what's your TV's model number?--so as to allow the Revue's remote to control it all.


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