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Google Businesses Television Entertainment Hardware Technology

No Set-Top TV Device Market Domination For Google 133

itwbennett writes "According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, returns of the Logitech Revue (Google's set-top box) exceeded sales in the first quarter. Explaining why sales were so poor, Logitech Chairman Guerrino De Luca went way out on a limb, saying: 'There was a significant gap between our price and the value perceived by the consumer.' So significant that 'Logitech must take a $34 million charge in the first quarter, which more than comprises the company's Q1 net loss of $30 million,' writes blogger Chris Nerney. 'In other words, Google TV is pushing Logitech into the red!'"
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No Set-Top TV Device Market Domination For Google

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  • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @02:36AM (#36930930)
    I haven't used it so can't say how much streaming options it has but being new and late to the game they should put it at 200 or even 150. to try to fight popcorn hour and boxee box that have been out for a while
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by davester666 ( 731373 )

      I'm not sure what Google and Logitech were thinking. They both seemed to assume the content providers wouldn't mind providing it for, well, free so these guys could sell hardware to display it to consumers.

      Once these devices were released, it was, yeah, no. You can't display our content. Try licensing it from us first.

      • Google didn't ask publishers/writers before moving ahead with Google Books.
      • The content providers (I'm thinking of Hulu, NBC, etc. that explicitly block GoogleTV) were already providing the content for free to PCs. Hook the PC to the TV, and you've got the same result as GoogleTV. Google TV just made it a lot simpler for the average Joe to plug a box in and view the content on his big screen TV, instead of the PC.

        Since the content providers made their decision to block GoogleTV, I've considered them to be little more than hypocrites and their action a petty grab for cash.

        • Except did the Google TV interface block ads? Or even some ads? Because I'm willing to bet that a lot of that stuff is ad supported on PC, and Google was blocking their ads, either accidentally or on purpose. Thus it's completely different. It's like how if everyone started running ad-block software on their PC, you'd start seeing a lot more paywall sites.

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            ??? IOW, you are talking completely out your ass and engaging in lopsided assumptions like some Fox News "commentator".

            • ??? IOW, you are talking completely out your ass and engaging in lopsided assumptions like ANY current News "commentator".


              • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

                There's one in particular who's name unfortunately escapes me at the moment that likes to throw around absurd (more like slanderous) accusations. Even inspired himself some similarly crafted domain names giving him a taste of his own medicine.

                Not even all Fox troll baiters are as bad as him, nevermind the industry at large.

    • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

      Moreover, for a device catered to the mass market, it lacks many layers of polish. Android started also like that, and went from horribly unusable to great in a few years. Google TV will do the same, if given the opportunity. The problem is, far less people are likely to spend $$$ in a set top box than on a phone. The market is far less volatile (look at the number of vendors) and they are paying the price now of a rev 1 product unfinished and rushed to the market.

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday July 30, 2011 @04:18AM (#36931182) Journal
      Well if you read TFA (I know, but I got bored) it says they are slashing the price from the original $299 to $99. So if you don't mind not getting support when they end up bailing out it might be a pretty sweet deal. Anybody know what the specs on the thing are? How hackable is it?
      • Apple TV is only $99. It's not android, but you can hack at it anyway if you're so inclined.
        • They dropped the price of the logitech device to $99.
          • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

            I believe that's what hairyfeet wrote. So?

            Given the choice, would you buy an Apple TV of a Logitech Revue?

            * Price - same
            * Support - probably *very* short term for the revue. Apple TV wins.
            * Media Availability when not rooted - Apple wins in my view. Plenty of legit online content, plus the stuff you have at home.
            * Hackability - on par. You have to root the box in both cases.
            * Mmmmm, what else now?

            • I would get the Apple TV over it. I was just pointing out that there was a price drop. If the $99 price was mentioned, I missed it.
              • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

                The Apple TV wins based on price and that's about it. That's what this is really about.

                This is why Netflix is doing so well. It is considered the cheap option and is often "bundled for free". That is why pretty much any new streamer device includes it.

                "being cheap" is what really wins the market. Droning from Lemmings or Fanboys is really quite irrelevant.

            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              "Stuff you have at home"? Are you kidding.

              AppleTV is simply full of fail when it comes to this sort of thing. It's the device that you have to adapt to rather than the other way around as it should be.

              "support" is a highly artificial issue that depends on the product being broken to begin with before you really benefit from it. This includes faulty hardware, bugs, and missing features. An appliance should not ever need any "support". If you are ever engaging "support" then then vendor did something terribly

    • I've bought a few of these. Many family members have them. Here's the basic pro/cons:


      1. Finding the show you want to watch is faster than my default Cable Guide. I hit the 'search' icon on my keyboard and start typing "Bobby Fla.." and up pops a google returned refined search-as-you-type. The top of the search shows 'NOW" results, which means its playing on a channel you can tune to. Picking that changes your Cable box to that channel. It'll also allow you to do a web search and return the results via chr
  • No brainer (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    $78 Roku box with a ton of channels, and new ones being added all the time; or Logitech Revue With Google TV for $199.00 and a more controlled selection. Easy choice...

    • amazon has it for 250 minus 25$ so 225, logitech has it on their store for 250 so not sure where you see 200. Roku is straight online only, it last i checked only supported mp4 and avi for local media. Which i have ton's of mkv files that roku won't play I mean terabytes of them. As for apple tv, i straight up dislike apple for to many reasons to list on any webpage, but fact their machine less they upgraded it since i last seen was 720p max and you have to rent what ever you wanted to watch and that rental
      • You can hack up your ATV to run XBMC. Not sure if ATV2 has enough hardware to do it in 1080p.

      • The ATV2 will play Main Profile 3.1 which is 720P. It will do Netflix rentals and iTunes rentals although I've never tried the iTunes rental bit. It also streams from iTunes installed on any PC or Mac but it must be 3.1 compliant. I'm wondering how long before they add a streaming server to various streaming platforms to convert other formats like MKV and whatnot.

        • If the ATV2 would browse DLNA then you could do it right now with ps3mediaserver.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          The ATV2 has a limited ability to play back content. So do most other "appliances".

          It doesn't matter how much you "hack" it. It's cheap crappy hardware.

          • "its cheap crappy hardware" Yes, thats exactly what we want, cheap shit that gets the job done. Not every edge-case mkv holding moron needs to addressed. Use standards that people actually use, not hack pirate shit. My video server holds up to 5 versions of a single video at various qualities and formats. Disk is cheap, on-the-fly transcoding and bandwidth are not.
            • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

              Except it doesn't "get the job done".

              Just about every form of "non-streamed" video is not some obscure corner case. It's most of what's actually out there. It's the vast majority of what actual real people and non-geeks are using.

              Any device that can't play content encoded in real industry standards is just making it harder on n00bs that will likely have problems with Handbrake or AirVideo regardless of how well you do at putting lipstick on that pig.

              This is probably why real PCs still outpace "appliances" b

  • Aside of the price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phoebe ( 196531 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @02:47AM (#36930952)

    The more significant concern should be how complicated the device is. The Logitech Revue has the hallmarks of being rushed to market by a furiously masterbating manager in the corner of an office somewhere, refusing to listen to anything anyone is saying.

    Just look at the Revue website [] and find anywhere mentioning how simple or easy the device is to use, no just a very daunting picture of a gargantuan remote that is some nerd's wet dream.

    A lot of effort has been put into the product launch, the Logitech website is larger than any other product they ship and it also extends onto the support side. It is nice to see that they have a series of support videos [] until you actually view one. Oh dear. I'm wincing at these poor actors having to drive through an overly technical and obtuse script which spends far too much time discussing "HDMI capable AV systems" and optional components which only serve to make it look more complicated than it needs to be.

    • by DrTime ( 838124 )
      In the unmentioned decades of my work with computers, most products are "rushed to market by a furiously masterbating manager in the corner of an office". Bugs, HMI problems, hardware faults, failure to meet requirements, and even being of any use to humanity do not matter once money is committed by a company to build something on which someone's career rests. In my defense and that of SOME companies and SOME managers I have been associated with, I have been a part of teams building useful things or softwa
    • by MikeURL ( 890801 )

      I have one (it was an impulse buy). It isn't hard to use it is just semi-pointless.

      I use a laptop for the most part when I want to surf so Google TV isn't helping much there. If I want to watch Netflix on a big screen I can use my Xbox.

      Where this thing should have value is in its integration with my cable box. But that integration is horrible. In fact there is no integration at all. And it isn't like I'm using some obscure box from a cableco no one ever heard of.

      When I bought it I actually assumed that

      • I can see why people are returning them.

        I just can't figure out how more of them are being returned than were sold. That's a cool trick.

  • According to the Logitech web site, the thing needs both an Ethernet connection to the outside world, and "Cable or Satellite set top box with HDMI out". What does it need a video input for? Over the air digital TV plus streaming over the Internet for anything else should suffice. None of the other video-over-the-Internet boxes seem to need that.

    • Because it's like a DVR without the R... it provides a program guide and has an IR blaster and can control your cable box.

      No, I can't find this [complete] information explicitly stated anywhere on Logitech's site, but why else?

      It's nice to not have to change your inputs.

      I can't see paying $250. Maybe $150. It has a pretty nice controller.


  • Gee, a PC like device that costs about as much as a basic function PC, but doesn't have the power for running on-line gaming and can't even watch Hulu or most network programs. And the consumer somehow preceived it wasn't worth the price? Imagine that! Who wouldn't want to buy this and hook it up to their TV rather than use the cash for a real multi-media PC?
    • It seem likely a few saps bought them the previous quarter and finally got around to returning them.
    • Gee, a PC like device that costs about as much as a basic function PC

      But "a basic function PC" comes in a much bigger case and lacks any sort of SDTV-compatible output without an obscure VGA-to-TV scan converter [].

      Who wouldn't want to buy this and hook it up to their TV rather than use the cash for a real multi-media PC?

      People who don't want a big, ugly, noisy tower in the living room. People who don't know how to build a small-form-factor PC from parts. People who have an SDTV and don't know that scan converters exist. People who have the mental set [] that PCs are for the desk and TVs are for the living room and never the twain shall meet. In other words, the majority. I've been told []

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > But "a basic function PC" comes in a much bigger case and lacks any sort of SDTV-compatible output

        SDTV? This is 2011. What rock have you been hiding under?

        TVs use different inputs and most PCs these days come with such inputs. Also even generic non-HTPCs come in smaller and quieter cases even without considering the use case of putting it next to your TV.

        The problem with the Logitech Revue is that you could buy a low profile PC fo

        • SDTV? This is 2011. What rock have you been hiding under?

          The same rock that people who buy replacement TVs at pawn shops and thrift stores hide under. People replace TVs when they break, and they buy "content boxes" (cable boxes, DVD players, game consoles, etc.) that are compatible with their current TV.

          The problem with the Logitech Revue is that you could buy a low profile PC for about the same price.

          The problem with a low-profile PC is that their manufacturers haven't been promoting them to the public. Average people hear "desktop computer" and think of a typical full-size ATX case (8" by 20" by 20"), not the Xbox 360-sized case of a Gateway SX or the practi

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            > The problem with a low-profile PC is that their manufacturers haven't been promoting them to the public.


            You can find smaller machines at Best Buy and have been able to do so for a long while now.

            You could even find Revos in Best Buy for awhile. Of course Best Buy doesn't want to sell you a $200 PC. They tried their best to hide it when they carried it. However, there are still plenty of machines out there besides "the monster tower from the 80s". Less lame stores will give you even better opti

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              You can find smaller machines at Best Buy

              Such as the Gateway SX I mentioned. But I still haven't seen any TV commercials for a desktop computer promoting small size or use with a TV. What is out there to make the general public know that a small-form-factor PC would suit someone's needs better than a dedicated set-top appliance?

  • It seems like Google's taken it upon itself to wage war against Apple, M$, Facebook et alia on a lot of fronts.

    As a little guy, I appreciate what Google's doing because it reduces the would-be monopoly power of the others. Google's thinking, insofar as I can ascertain, is: A closed monopolized tech environment will make it difficult for Google's open Internet approach of serving up free stuff and putting ads on it. Which is great.

    But the question is: Can they succeed in holding the line on all these fronts?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that all Google products are nothing but rushed out pre-beta quality software.

      Even today, Android is sluggish. Honeycomb is pretty much unstable garbage with nothing to show. GoogleTV is a dead product and Google+ is a Facebook wannabe with a worst privacy policy.

      In other words, Google produces nothing but pre-beta software which are nothing more than clones of other products. Nothing original, only copycats.

      • The problem is that all Google products are nothing but rushed out pre-beta quality software.

        But... people LIKE beta software when it's from Google! They think the little "beta" label is cute! There's even a Gmail lab extension to put that label back!

        Haven't you been reading Slashdot? Google can do no wrong. At least you were smart enough to post anonymously...

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      The people who want to buy the iPhone sight unseen are the same people who would have secretly been happy to attend a school with a school uniform so they didn't have dress themselves in the morning using their own discretion, only some kind of miracle school where the uniforms are insanely fashionable with only a sarcastic trim of grey flannel.

      Back when Microsoft had a similar pile of money, they gave I think it was $40B back to investors in a massive stock dividend. The money doesn't do Apple any good at

    • Google are not the little guy. They are like Microsoft in that they have a couple of highly profitable revenue streams which they use to try to expand their product range.

      But they simply haven't a clue on producing a product that people want or will want (after all, technology companies are supposed to think ahead).

      Their successes are fairly obvious things, online email, search engine, online office suite and mobile phone OS. Nothing ground breaking are they? they are all things Microsoft has done or is doi

    • No one has come up with hardware better than last year's iPhone? You might want to check your facts on that one. It took me all of five seconds to google a phone with superior hardware specs [].
      • Not that I like apple, but the Iphone 4's screen is currently the best on the market. There are others that come close, but sadly I'm not seeing other high-res, small-form-factor displays. Maby one or two devices above ~800x480 in the 7" form factor.

        So, yes, thinking purely about the screen, there *isn't* anything better. But thinking about everything... well, I'd argue that my 2008-vintage N900 is far better, along with just about any other phone with a hardware keyboard, 800x480 screen and unlocked bootlo

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The iphone 4 has the worst reception of any phone on the market.

        • This. I have an original Droid, which beat the graphics specs of the 3GS. Then the 4 comes out with their retina display crap, and we're still seeing Android phones with the same screen specs of the first Droid X! Are manufacturers just that blind or are there limitations on the Android software that don't support higher resolutions? Seems like one of the selling points of Ice Cream Sandwich was the HD resolution...maybe that's the fix? Just seems like 2 years after the Droid debut we should have much

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            A 1994 PC can handle this "retina display" nonsense. That doesn't mean that you actually would want to use it for anything. Being able to output at a certain resolution and being able to actually do anything with it are entirely orthogonal to each other.

            I'd much rather have the "underlying horsepower" so content has to be "adapted" less or not at all.

            • by wsxyz ( 543068 )
              All you have to "do with it" is make the same stuff look a lot better, and that's what the iPhone 4 does. Back in 1985 when the 300 DPI Laserwriter was introduced were you bitterly attacking people for spending $7000 on a printer because, after all, it's all just letters and your $500 9-pin Epson did letters just fine?
              • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

                You must be an Apple fanboy. You missed the point and misunderstood the key technical issue entirely.

                Your attempt to make somehow turn this into a case of "being cheap" and the Apple product being some sort of luxury good is also misplaced.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Your entire screed is Fanboy nonsense. You're like an ostrich with it's head stuck in a hole.

      If your views reflect Apple management, they are trebly doomed.

      Anyone in this space is going to be by definition "at war" with Apple since Apple is a single vendor integrated monopoly. There is just no "peaceful coexistence" with something like that. It's like trying to "just get along" with Microsoft.

      The Revue may have bombed but the rest of the onslaught continues.

      Many of us are happy for this being the sorts marg

      • Your entire screed is Fanboy nonsense. ..... The Revue may have bombed but the rest of the onslaught continues.

        Who's the "fanboy" here?

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Ideally, there is NOTHING tying me to a single hardware vendor or platform.

          When the next thing comes along, I can take advantage of it rather than being trapped by someone else's limited vision.

          Open standards and free markets are handy that way.

  • Why $250? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rix ( 54095 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @04:07AM (#36931160)

    There are lots of devices that do the same thing going for significantly less than a hundred.

    Also, it's puzzling that Google cooperated with the content blocking schemes. They should have just set the browser ID to Internet Explorer and told the networks to go fuck themselves.

    • I can't explain the absurd cost, except greed. But as to the browser info, an even better choice might be to look like Chrome on a PC, which can play Hulu content just fine. Or even better, just let the user configure all of those settings, so that Google isn't being deceptive and the user isn't forced to report info that they don't wish to. But returning IE or any other info doesn't resolve the basic problem of it being an over priced under powered device.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The "absurd cost" is pretty easy to explain if you don't have blinders on.

        Devices that aren't terribly limited cost more. It's as simple as that.

        Far too many people are willing to declare that cheap crap is a suitable alternative when it really isn't. It's certainly not a complete replacement. You are left with considerable compromises that any discriminating consumer should be able to recognize and acknowledge.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      **Also, it's puzzling that Google cooperated with the content blocking schemes**

      it's not puzzling. that's what you do if you're straight out of university and have a too large budget and think that you have to do that. consequently, it gets fucking expensive to even just start debating those issues(as they never lead to anything actually working if you don't cripple the product very badly very expensively, they can burn money indefinitely, it's also why you need the tuner(s) in, because you consulted with c

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Then the content producers would just add some VBScript to the website instead of some key Javascript parts. Should work just fine with any actual IE versions. I don't think anything besides IE supports VBS. And if Google hacks around that, the content producers will have a whole lot of other tricks up their sleeves.
      Google could only play catch-up but would never win.

    • by IICV ( 652597 )

      There are lots of devices that do the same thing going for significantly less than a hundred.

      Hell, I'm not even convinced that the thing does more than a Wii, and those things are $250 as well - nowadays they even support Youtube, Netflix and Hulu, which I'm sure covers like 90% of the uses you'd put this box to.

  • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Saturday July 30, 2011 @06:32AM (#36931604) Homepage

    With Google's acquisition of sageTV [], it was speculated that SageTV would either become or become part of a revised platform for GoogleTV. What will happen to this fine company? Their DVR software was fantastic, and their "media extender" hardware was very useful. Many companies that get assimilated by Google become integral parts of a greater whole. But what will happen here? I seriously doubt that Google will shelve the set-top box concept. They may transform GoogleTV into something different, but I doubt they'll abandon it.

    • I doubt it's over. The Logitech Revue was the very first device to market. I completely dismissed the Revue as a half-assed attempt to beat apple. After seeing the SageTV/Google screenshots, I have no doubts the second iteration will be where it's at. Maybe something that combines the GoogleTV2.0 with Android@Home...that would be sweet. I also think that Amazon may enter the fray in a few years.
    • It would be nice if they'd take bits of sageTV and package it into a GoogleTV software package that I could install myself. I would love to put together a quiet SFF PC for the living room with my own specs, OTA tuners, and be able to use Android DVR and Media Center apps to have everything all in once nice web-enabled box.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        PCs are starting to become overkill for media devices. If your co-processors are good enough, you can get away with a lot less. You can have smaller devices and lower power consumption and less heat issues and remove parts that aren't really needed.

        A GoogleTV box that is not closed would be a potentially very cool thing, like an AppleTV but with enough GPU muscle to handle the things that a PC can but an AppleTV or Roku can't. Just leave it in as an accessable "expert" option so that it's available but not

  • Now granted the one I got to play with was a pre-public release a developer at my friends company was given that he setup in the company's theator room... but the remote was ugly and looked like a label maker mated with an Xbox 360 remote. I don't think it had any more functionality than the logictech, but I believe its price tag was $100 *more* than the logictech unit

  • they still have $120.00 keyboards and $90.00 rats they can sell.

  • I think I read elsewhere the CEO is "stepping down". AKA being fired.

    Seriously, didn't this product look like a total failure the moment it was announced. I am sure we had a story on the announcement, and I am sure most of stated: WTF??? This was the most obvious DOA product since the JooJoo.

    It is bad enough to launch an obvious stinker but it sounds like they also put so much money behind it as to put the company in jeopardy. Seriously how out of touch and clueless was the CEO.

    CEO get 7 figure salaries

  • So if I got a GTV at $99 now, it will be able to be upgraded to Honeycomb when it comes out? It was a nonstarter at 250 for something with unknown value, but I’d consider it at 99. Can I play media that is on my network via the GoogleTV, too?

    You know what I want out of GoogleTV?

    I want the media center capabilities of a Boxee or XBMC. I want the android market and internet prowess and ability to browse with a full-on browser a la the current GoogleTV.

    And I want it in a box with a Cablecard where I can

    • So you want a computer connected to your tv, essentially.

      • More or less, yes. I want Windows 7 Media Center without having to use a Windows 7 desktop install. Or MythTV without the PITA setup and configuration. Or a Tivo without the monthly fee. Or a Boxee or XBMC install with a DVR that I can run on Linux but also be able to watch Netflix and other online streaming channels.

        A GoogleTV appliance should be able to do these things.

  • (This was sent to me by a friend who is an ex-Logitech engineer.)

    The story of the Logitech Revue


    Life Among the Wolverines


    A Bitter Ex-Logitech Engineer

    The story begins years ago in the webcam group of Logitech, where some guys (by which I mean engineers and a manager of either gender) were assigned to figure out how to get webcams onto televisions in the living room.

    Webcams are a profitable business for Logitech, so they were able to spare some expense for this project, and the guys, in the end, came up

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