While off at CES 2011 with Mark I picked up a piece of propaganda literature from Logitech about the Revue and all it had to offer so I thought I would scan it. Well my scanner is on the fritz, so I was going to have to hand type it. I figured if I was going to do that, then I might as well do some in-depth research into what the real situation is. So here's a fully unbiased comparison of the Logitech Revue (Google TV) vs. Boxee vs. Roku XD|S vs. Apple TV (2nd Generation).

Now I'm serious when I say unbiased. I researched all of this based on the available literature, forum discussions, respective app stores and best available information to date. Some of it is rumor but from fairly reliable sources (and labeled as such when applicable).

Internet TV Devices

Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

Cable/satellite integrationY---
DVR searchY
(if using a PC-based media server)
Wireless networkYYYY
Wired networkYYYY
ControllersQWERTY, touchpad, remote, mini controllerQWERTY remote, widget, iPhone app, Windows Apps, Kinect (hack)D-pad RemoteD-Pad remote, Remote app for iOS (touch)
Smartphone/device integrationiPhone, iPad, iPod touch, AndroidiPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Blackberry, iPad, Windows Phone 7, AndroidAndroid, iPhone (via i.TV and DVPRemote), web-based (Remoku)iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iPad

Streaming Content

Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

Hulu PlusPendingPendingY-
(via PC streaming)
(lacks DRM support)
(via an app/channel like Chaneru)
(via private channel in beta)
MusicPandora, standard music streaming servicePandora, standard music streaming servicePandora, standard music streaming serviceiTunes Library

Internet Content

Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

Full Web BrowserYYN
(Roku openly stated "...we have no interest, in the short term or long term, to add web browsing to the product..." in their forums)
(via pay app aTV Flash about $40!)
SearchIntegrated online searchLocal sources and online TV showsN
(no cross-channel integration)
AppsAndroid Market
(hacked currently, expected Spring 2011 officially)
Boxee app listAvid development community
(3rdparty, channel store)
App Store

Social Networking

Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

Video CallingRequired Logitech TV CamNNFaceTime looks to be headed that way
FacebookYYJust Photos
(and no web browser)
Via App?
TwitterYY (Bitter app)3rd party Twitter screensaveraTVitter app

Other Content

Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

Picture viewingY
(Picasa compatible)
(Picasa compatible, Flickr)
(via Photobridge)
(via iTunes)
(via browser and Android Apps – still via hack) Logitech CEO openly stated gaming could be major factor
(via FuzztheD's Launcher app)
(still rudimentary but moving along. Minesweeper, Sudoku, Tic Tac Toe, etc)
Maybe? It has the A4 chip and should run Apps soon...so why not games?


Logitech Revue (Google TV)


Roku XD/S

Apple TV

$249-300$199 & DIY$99.99 (XD|S)$99

All data obtained from manufacturer sites, forums and online sources. Basis of comparison was Logitech handout obtained at CES 2011. That was then expanded upon to make it less biased. If I missed something let me know in comments, preferably in a polite and level-headed manner, thankyouverymuch.

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Notes on video chat:

In order to use the Logitech Revue for video chat you must have a specific Logitech camera, the Logitech TV Cam (sold separately for $149.99). On top of that you must sign up for a Logitech Vid specific account and anyone you want to talk with must have the same equipment and account. Hugely limiting factors which make the Logitech Revue all but useless in regards to video chat.

Apple has not confirmed 100% that FaceTime is coming to Apple TV. There are rumors that it will thanks to some code found on the Apple TV which may or may not be remnants of iOS for the other platforms that already have cameras on them. Again, other users will need to have FaceTime but this could allow for cross-platform iOS video chat in the end.

Closing Thoughts

Now, if one were to ask me which I thought was best. I might say none. I might say use your PC with TVersity or something like that. I might offer you the software TechnoDad (my father, who has done loads of research on the matter) swears by, which is My Movies. I would certainly ask you what you really wanted to be able to do and then work from there. If you have a wide variety of content from a vast array of sources, I would not suggest Apple TV, nor would I suggest Roku. Both of those are made to work with specific kinds of online services for the most part, not for home content (except for what fits into iTunes for Apple TV). No, what I might suggest would be a PC media server (Linux, Windows 7, whatever) and maybe, a Sony Playstation 3, by far one of the easiest systems to set up for streaming (plus it does loads of other things).

Then again, with the new round of connected-TV's you might not even need that PS3 to access your media server. I would however suggest either Ethernet connections (100Mb or perhaps 1Gb), or 802.11 N (if you abso need wireless) for that ultra 1080p stuff. That might be what I would suggest, if one were to ask me about such things. I might even suggest a Samsung connected TV because to me, they really have a plan with that and I think they are going to lead the way this year with their connected TVs and other devices. Mark and I even played a game against each other where I was on a Samsung TV and he was on a Galaxy Tab, it was cool. They have this thing called All Share you might look into. Oh, and they have Skype too.

UPDATES February 15th, 2011

Boxee has announced both VUDU and Netflix apps in the last week or so. There was some problem with Netflix security but that has been resolved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1190464415 Atony Johnson


  • Jack Sullivan

    I run a PC Media Server running Orb and PlayOn, an X-Box 360, and a Roku. Roku is the easiest solution and the most reliable. PC is the best for accessing all forms of content. The X-Box provides the best interface. I can watch almost anything on the PC and X-Box, and 90% of the desired content I watch regularly on the Roku. If you're not an early adopter and familiar with the tech behind porting content, stick with cable.

  • Brett Perlas

    I'll make this easy as I looked everywhere before purchasing a Logitech Revue and wish someone would have made it straight-forward: DO NOT BUY the Logitech Revue unless you really need a web browser and do not care about Hulu or HBO Go. To be fair, HBO Go website works sometimes (until the shockwave plugin inevitably crashes), but even after update to GTV2.0 there is no Hulu Plus or HBO Go app even though these are both already on Android Market for other android devices. Go with a Roku that has everything you want out of box.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/christophor-rick/ Christophor Rick

    Hi Jack,

    Roku and Boxee would be good if you have media on your PC that you can't get easily to your TV, otherwise, no, not really since the Smart TV has access to most of the same content. Depends what you're specifically looking to do. The thing about the Smart TV and other connected TVs is that they're taking that over-the-top functionality and building it into the TVs themselves.

  • JACK

    I have a Samsung smart tv. will the roku or apple tv be any use to me?

    JMA 

  • Pradeep Jayaraman

    How about Upnp DLNA?

    • Kaushik Thandra

      Good to see your post!!

  • Alex

    You failed to discuss the most important features which are a) accessing home media and b) the ability to play it. I've ordered a Boxee Box today because I'm tired of my Apple TV not being able to play my home media and the unreliable iTunes connection that is required to play my music (forget about movies!). The PS3 / media server option is also very unreliable and often won't play movie formats or crashes. DLNA is an awkward file sharing system and even if a file is visible it often is not playable!

    The best media player I have is an LG BD570 blue ray player. It even allows me to browse network drives without needing media servers and will just about play anything I throw at it. With frequent software updates it keeps getting better. It also has Netflix and divxTV, which has awesome free content. I'm hoping the Boxee Box works as well as the LG.

  • Timothy Paul Rick

    The "My Movies" you speak of has a new feature coming out SOON (in beta testing now) that will make it the BEST..... IMHO. OH, the feature......categorize and organize TV Series with movie like backdrops, synopsis's and all info !! I have had no time to test but it looks like its been going well with a LOT of bug fixes and loose ends being tied up.
    Brian Binnerup is in charge and VERY active with the MM4 beta forums. Its a game changer for anyone using Windows Media Center.......it makes it COMPLETE

    • Dan B

      I am in the market to get something early next month when I get my Amazon gift card. I am having trouble deciding between Roku & Revue. I'm hearing that NBC, ABC & Fox are now with Hulu in blocking Google TV from watching streaming shows. If Google uses a basic internet, how do they know the difference between Google TV and Google search from a computer? And if that is in fact true, has anyone heard if that will be the case for a while? I am leaning towards Revue for the internet access and it's come down to $230. So if it does all the same stuff as Roku, but you can also check your email or fantasy sports teams plus view pictures from your computer, it seems like Revue might be worth the extra money. And if they can eventually get back NBC and the other Networds, it's just that much better. So other than price, can someone tell me why Roku is a better option than Revue?

  • Jason Surber

    This is one of the best comparison articles I have read in a while. Like Sheila I purchased a Logitech revue, I had gotten mine back in December right before Christmas, I figured I deserved a present. I work for DISH network, also subscribe, there so I was able to pick it up for $179.00 (which isn't employee pricing all DISH subs get it at that price) but when you purchased it through DISH there is a $4.00 integration fee, which as far as I can tell allows me to search my DVR and guide for answers to searches, and allows the Logitech Keyboard to run everything for my DISH receiver on it using Harmony technology. I love it, there are limitation which the availability of some online content, but for searching the internet for information, you tube, Pandora, and then the Android market coming this year I hope. I wasn't into "rooting" my Revue. I'm not that good with electronic stuff, my hands are too big.

  • hershelmiller

    I like how I'm getting a Roku ad deliverd via Google on this page.

  • Miranda_DISH

    I use the Revue, and I have to say it is really neat. Like Tim was saying he doesn't want his main focal point for his entertainment center to be his clunky PS3 (clunky maybe an over statement), so a Logitech Revue would be perfect. Imagine sitting in your living room with friends, and someone remembers a funny youtube video. It makes it so much easier to share content instead of huddling around a small computer screen. My co worker at DISH is the one who told me about it, and I have to say that it is pretty neat. I am happy he told me about it!

  • Lauren

    Thanks for the comparison, Chris. I will certainly take all your hard work into consideration.

    Here's what I really want: I dont want to pay up the ass for cable. I dont watch a ton of TV, and when I do, I'd rather put a season of South Park in my DVD player than scan randomly for a show that might catch my interest.

    This being the case, I'm leaning towards Roku for it's close tie to NexFlix. I have a laptop so I can do my browsing on it, and I like the idea of instant streaming whatever-the-heck-I-want (well, mostly) to my TV.


    • Christophor Rick

      Why not just get a connected Blu-Ray player? That would then give you the DVD-based entertainment value along with streaming of content. Sony is making them as are a couple other manufacturers. If you're only watching Netflix streaming you could also do it with your just you laptop depending on the type of TV you've got.

  • http://www.facebook.com/booktrailers Sheila Clover English

    I purchased the Logitech box for Google TV. It was a bit pricey but worth every penny. And no, I don't work for them. lol
    It was surprisingly easy to hook up and I love that the keyboard is also a Harmony remote which means I can control all of my entertainment equipment from it.
    I had hoped Hulu would be available by now, but still it is not. I find it interesting that Hulu IS available via Google TV if you access Google TV using their Sony products.
    I have a 55 inch tv screen and the fastest connection Time Warner offers at this time. Browsing has been easy, no frustrations as of yet.
    I was also surprised at how often we use it. I suspected we'd use it a bit with Netflix, etc. but when my son has friends over (my son is 25) they never use the television now that we have Google TV.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frederick-Meller/1755490111 Frederick Meller

    Mr. Rick, I enjoy your reviews. Review this; My name is Fritz and mostly All of my Sh*t works just fine. So you CAN'T blame that scanner on ME. Your scanner ..."on the fritz...", NOT happenin' here buddy. Thanks. Have a Great Day.

    • Christophor Rick

      If your name is Fritz, why did you log in as Frederick? :)

  • Christophor Rick

    One point of clarification that was brought to my attention by Logitech PR:

    Whilst a requirement to talk to someone using a TV Cam is using Logitech’s Vid software, you can do this from a Mac or PC as well – greatly increasing who you can chat with in addition to other TV Cam users. Logitech also has future plans to support other chat clients in the near future – beneficial to those who are not interested in using Vid.

    Still, it requires both you and them to have the software instead of just being able to use Skype. Everyone I know has Skype, no one I know has Logitech Vid Software. So in my book, it doesn't really increase the number of people I could chat with, plus it requires $149.99 camera only from Logitech as opposed to Skype that works with pretty much any webcam.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    I just have to say - Such a great post Chris... Thanks for this one.

  • Dave Holland

    Cool - I am actually eagerly awaiting the release of Google TV here in the UK - being a bit of an early adopter (I built my first Home Theater PC about 8 years ago) I am hoping that finally we are reaching a stage where we will have a convenient and user friendly means of accessing digital media either locally or remotely from the comfort of the living room.

    I know that you can do a lot with a PC but no matter how hard you try to hide the OS and customise it, it still just seems a little too clunky for the average user(my partner will inevitably break it). Likewise with a PS3 - Its a console and I am not sure if I want my games console to be the center of my home theater.

    If anyone of these can provide me with a box that fits in next to my other AV kit, doesnt look like a PC, is quiet and can access the web etc using a relatively intuative interface/controller then I would be more than happy.

    • Christophor Rick

      Like I said Tim, I would suggest My Movies which my father (Also a Tim) uses as does his wife who, while familiar with expressions like 'white screen of death' is not at all technically savvy and so needs a nice easy interface which My Movies provides. It's got a cover flow for films and can take in all manner of recorded TV and online content, etc.

      The size, shape and color of the box you run it on are all up to you :)

  • RV

    Thank you for the thorough unbiased comparison. I agree with your end conclusion. I feel all these solutions are too expensive, too complicated, and limit the user's choices. I think a browser on the tv is the ultimate solution. HTML is the standard that content creators will publish to and build business models around, not multiple customized app platforms. The web is also where the user has total freedom and unlimited choices. I think the hardware solution that gets us there are wireless display technologies, such as Intel WiDi. This is what I am using and I love it. Easy set up and I don't have to learn how to use a whole new layer of software. I have the whole internet available to me on my television.

    • Dave Holland

      Thanks for the heads up on the Intel Wireless Display - this looks really interesting - will check it out. I agree on the browser on the TV - but sites will need to adapt to suit the different screen sizes and viewing distances - even on a 80" projector I struggle to read the text on many sites.

      • Christophor Rick

        We did publish a guide to optimizing your site for Google TV based on information that was published by Google. Personally I don't have problems reading web content on the TV, especially if there's a zoom function :)