Are you looking to purchase a set top-box / media streaming device but can’t decide which one? Hands down Logitech Revue with Google TV is the way to go.
I had Boxee Box first and fell in love. The setup was relatively easy, and with no base for comparison it seemed to have a slew of features. I was able to attach an external storage device to it and use it to play music, videos (not .3gp Android Videos) or create slideshows of favorite photos. The remote was small but featured a full qwerty keyboard on the back that seamed ingenious. I could stream Netflix, listen to Pandora, watch YouTube videos. However, it was terribly unstable. Applications would hang, or lose functionality, and the Boxee Box constantly required a reboot. I could only open a few apps, or even search for a few songs on Vevo before it would freeze up. Several of their popular apps had similar issues, if they worked at all. Web browsing was also a very clunky experience, with limited functionality on many sites.
Then Logitech’s Revue with Google TV came into my life and I haven’t looked back. I purchased this on a whim, with pretty low expectations, after the announcement that its price had dropped below $100 (from $300) and that Google was working to add the Honeycomb Android operating system to it, with the Android market, which would allow me to install apps to the device just like a tablet or smartphone. Initially, the setup was a bit more involved than the Boxee Box had been, however this extra effort is due to some added functionality. Its remote control is a hybrid between a PC keyboard and a Harmony remote and has the ability to control all of my entertainment devices (TV, Cable Box, Audio Receiver, and Revue). I was able to get through the configuration in about 15 minutes, thanks to the fact that I already own a harmony remote and had been familiar with the setup and where my model #’s lived on my devices. At first the remote seemed huge, but once I started using it made perfect sense. It’s basically a full wireless keyboard with touchpad and it makes searching the web and using the apps so easy. Using the Revue is a seamless experience. Since the cable box is routed through the Revue to my TV, I don’t need to change the input on my TV or change the AV output, as the cable box and Revue are fed off the same signal. Google and Logitech made a concerted effort on stability when they teamed up to build this device, and it shows. I’ve only had to reboot the device a handful of times since setting it up, whereas I may have had that many reboots in a single day with the Boxee Box. When you use the search button on the keyboard you are searching Google, your Revue, YouTube, and your cable channels. This powerful search functionality is amazing. You can also use the Revue in a PIP mode, so you can see and hear your TV shows while playing with the Revue configuration…or better yet to watch your FF scores, while keeping an eye on the live games. The internet browser appears to be some form of Chrome, so where many sites failed on the Boxee Box, the Revue excels and mimics the ease of web browsing on a computer. The stock apps on
the Revue appear to be less apps and more specially designed web pages that feed your content, but I have had no complaints with the way these work or with their stability.
Also. The Revue is thin and sleek and fit on my entertainment console without needing to move anything around. It slid right on top of my cable box and is almost unnoticeable. The Boxee Box’s awkward cube shape stuck out like a sore thumb.
My only real complaint about the Revue is that the interface is a little less intuitive than the Boxee, similar to any other Android device. It takes a little tweaking and playing to learn all that can be done with the UI to make it most useable. Hopefully this will be improved with the release of Honeycomb this fall. For nearly $100 less, the Google Revue not only beats out Boxee Box on price but also functionality.
Do you use a set-top box or streaming media device? Have you tried the Revue or Boxee Box? What do you think?