Logitech's Google TV Box: Google, Intel, and Harmony Inside

By  |  Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

This morning’s unveiling of Google TV was so dense with stuff that needed to be explained that we didn’t hear much about Logitech’s Google TV “companion” box other than that there’d be one, and it’ll ship this fall. But I visited with Logitech after the keynote and got a few more details.

  • This isn’t a replacement for your cable box with a tuner and CableCard slots, or anything else¬† too fancy, technically speaking–it’s a black gadget about the size of a thin hardcover book with HDMI in (for your cable connection) and HDMI out (for your TV). There’s also a SPDIF connector, two ports for IR blasters, a couple of USB ports for accessories such as game controllers, Wi-Fi, and an Intel Atom CPU and related electronics. That’s about it. The big benefit here: It’ll work with any entertainment setup you’ve got, as long as you have an HDTV.
  • The box incorporates Logitech’s Harmony software, which powers the company’s popular universal remotes. You’ll be able to use an existing Harmony remote, an iPhone or Android app, or future Logitech remotes (including one with a touchpad and QWERTY keyboard) to control the box and all your other living-room devices, such as the TV itself or an AV receiver (the quick demo I got even included the iPhone app controlling a TiVo). The Harmony angle helps to explain why Logitech–a company synonymous with accessories–is making a set-top box.
  • The fact the remote will be able to control a TiVo doesn’t mean there’s Google TV-TiVo integration that would let you find a show using Google TV and then record it on the TiVo. Dish’s DVR is the only one which will allow that.
  • The box won’t come with a controller–you’ll choose one separately, or use one of the smartphone apps. (Correction: I misunderstood. It will come with a remote, but you’ll be able to opt for one of the other smartphone apps or other Logitech controllers instead.)
  • Logitech isn’t talking about a pricetag. I predict $199 or thereabouts…
 
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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Papadopulos Says:

    Disappointed that cable support for the Logi set-top box is limited to Dish. Does this mean no support for Comcast or Tivo users on Dish?

  2. Technophile Says:

    Logitech’s blog: http://blog.logitech.com/2010/05/20/logitechgoogletv/

  3. Stephen Says:

    Will Sling be suing or anything?

  4. Christopher Ross Says:

    I’m mystified what Google + Logitech + Sony + Intel ad nasuem are bringing to the table that hasn’t already been done with Atom-based PCs running Windows and selling for under $200 already. Not to mention the internet capabilities already present in the Xbox, PS3 and Wii. While there is room for improving the UI they offer, I’d bet they will evolve much more quickly now that Google has shown their hand.

    And are consumers willing to offer up to Google even more data about themselves?

  5. Jose Alvear Says:

    @Christopher: The big difference is software. Google TV software. That allows you go get integrated search, Android apps, and full Internet browsing with Flash. It integrates with existing set-top boxes, so it’s not competing on that level.

    The Google/Intel/Logitech box is really just a slim netbook. You get the power of a PC, on your TV.

  6. James Katt Says:

    I think the cable companies will be hopping mad that their content is being hijacked by Google TV.

  7. Alan Bulan Says:

    If I buy the Logitech HD C910 box and the web cam from United States and bring them to Africa , will I be able to use the HD Video Calling feature?

    nono reviews

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