The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 + accessories

The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 + accessories

Summary: Google TV boxes or televisions will need to follow a subsidized mobile model to keep prices down if Google and manufacturers want this to be more than a geek niche.

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The Logitech Revue has already been, errr, well-reviewed in the tech press with ZDNet's Sam Diaz citing the

"'...Harmony' technology that it has built into its advanced remote controls and showed how that technology - which allows a single device to take control over the set itself, as well as the other components connected to it - works in an Android smartphone...I was happy to see that the companies had come up with a way to build remote control functionality into a device that I’m already carrying around."

Matthew Miller also pointed to an enthusiastic review of the "fluid" interface. In fact, it sounds like Logitech has really nailed the first foray into Google Television with a well-executed, Android-based set top box that should be intuitive for users new to this "revolutionary" approach to TV/Web integration. Sounds great, right? Another big Android win for Google!

Wrong. $300 is more than many people spend on a decent LCD TV from Walmart. Add in the $130 mini keyboard (almost a must vs. the included giant keyboard) and the $150 Google Video Chat solution and you could have bought a decent PC with a TV tuner. True, it would lack Android's apps and search integration as well as content from a variety of networks, but a sticker of $580 is more than daunting. It's a killer. As PC Magazine points out, the unit itself is 3 Apple TV boxes.

There's a way to make this explode of course. As described on CNN.com this morning,

At last month's Zeitgeist conference in Arizona, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters that he sees Android as a $10 billion business.

"If we have a billion people using Android, you think we can't make money from that?" he asked.

And Google isn't stopping with phones. The Android network is already connecting 200,000 new devices each day and will soon be making its way into tablets and TVs.

Where are all of those $10 billion dollars going to come from? Advertising and Apps sales, primarily. Which means that it would be very easy to subsidize the cost of the devices through ad revenues and partnerships with cable and satellite carriers, just as the high cost of mobile phone hardware is subsidized by wireless carriers. After all, wireless providers are just looking to defray the costs of their high-end phones; they want us to spend our money on data plans.

Even Apple, king of all things overpriced, has figured this one out. At $99 a piece, Apple is barely covering its parts, manufacturing, and distribution costs for Apple TV. And it doesn't matter since every Apple TV device represents a constant revenue stream from consumers making purchases in the iTunes Store.

The tech pundits are right on this one: Google TV has the potential to be revolutionary and a major source of continued growth for Google, but the price has to be right. Hitting consumers with what amounts to luxury costs in a miserable economy is not the way to get Google's advertising platform and other sources of monetization in every household.

How many of us are willing to buy full-priced cell phones? At $5-600 a piece for high-end smartphones, Android growth would be a fraction of what it is now in the mobile market. $200, however, with a 2-year contract is, at least psychologically, no big deal. The same theory applies to Google TV, but in this case, the price must be even lower. Many of us rely on our smartphones for both social and business communications as well as anytime/anywhere Internet access. Google TV isn't yet something we think we need like DVR or mobile phones (both of which still generally need to be subsidized by carriers to justify them in the average household budget). Give us a $100 pricepoint, though, and Google TV will take off. For now, our laptops and smartphones can happily sit beside us as we watch TV.

Topics: Google, Hardware, Mobility

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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39 comments
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  • Christopher is right on, as usual. We need Arm or MIPS based devices that

    cost $100, and that will come in time. <br><br>Though, I do think that the larger keyboard will come in handy when you want to chat, tweet, write an email, create a document. Put it in a drawer and use a regular remote, or, your Android phone as a remote when you don't need it.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

      @DonnieBoy
      It's not that the hardware needs to be cheaper, it's that the cost of the hardware needs to be subsidized by profit on the media.

      Apple makes a ton of money from selling the media at very high prices. So, when competition comes along in the form of Google TV they can subsidize the upfront cost. Consumers make decisions based primarily on the upfront cost, so this is a winning strategy.

      Apple's strategy is rather slimy so I'm sorry to say this, but Google needs to do the same thing.
      Trufagus
      • Good point. Google should offer $100-150 rebates on the Revue

        @Trufagus
        Google doesn't have the consumer electronics appeal that Apple does. They've got an uphill battle just in branding. Don't let hardware prices knock you out of the running.
        ericesque
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

        @Trufagus So .99 cents a song/ $6 bucks an album is a very high price? Perhaps if one is downloading music illegally... Sure movie rentals are expensive compared to Redbox but it's hard to compete with a buck a DVD - or 2 bucks (?) per BR per day.
        athynz
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

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  • even at $100 a smartphone or tablet in lap is a BETTER solution...

    how do you think this will go down... <i>yeah guys i know this is the superbowl last down and the game is tied.. but look, i just got a twitter from my mom so i'm just going to minimize this for a second here...</i> putting that stuff up on screen is actually an inferior solution to having a tablet or smartphone that acts as a secondary, personal screen to do that peripheral stuff<br><br>add in apple's airPlay where you can at will... wirelessly beam the output from apps on your tablet or smartphone onto the TV (hulu+, MLB, etc).. Googles just got this totally wrong.. this will be a bigger, more public FAIL that Google Wave.. add in $300-600 price tag for something that people don't really think they need to begin with.. FAIL!
    doctorSpoc
    • The prices will come down, and it will get integrated into TVs.

      The web WILL be the dominant content delivery platform in the future, and people DO want to be part of that.
      DonnieBoy
      • the delivery platform is irrelevant..

        @DonnieBoy - the only thing that matter is the quality and availability of content, how it is accessed (on demand, broadcast is dead..) and the price.. delivery platform is irrelevant.. cable companies could stop this in it's tracks as well if they changed their model..

        the other thing is that people like TV to be a passive thing... people don't want to interact with TV, this has been tried before.. outside of a few geeks people don't want this.. this is a computer in the living room.. people can already do all this stuff on a computer.. buy a $10 cable and you can do all of this..
        doctorSpoc
  • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

    Here's my problem with Google TV so far and why I don't see this catching on with the mass market just yet. Besides the high cost of these boxes and extra costs for add-ons, and the unnecessary full keyboard in the living room.<br><br>TV's in households are mainly shared viewing experience. If you or your significant other is watching a show, most likely you won't be using the time to do searches or discovering other content on the TV, searching the web for content etc. All the things Google or Logitech is promoting with this Google TV. You would be using the time enjoying your shows and movies. Unless you really want to upset your significant other messing with Google TV while "Dancing with the Stars" is playing. lol<br><br>What I would like is a Google TV app on my smart phone or tablet that would allow me to do all my discovery without disturbing the playing movie or show. When I find something to watch, I simply "fling" it (Google's term) to the receiver box or TV and continue discovering content without having to interrupt what's being watched. Not sure if there will be such an option with Google TV and smart phones, not much info is giving on their site. Right now much of the emphasis is giving to discovery on the TV screens itself, which I see as backwards. More emphasis should be place on the devices we all have and carry around now.<br><br>Anyone who's ever used Apple's Remote App on the iPhone, iPod Touch or now iPad will understand the joy and ease of being able to scroll through all your media on your iOS device, and simply send it to the TV, computer or speaker or choice around the house (over wifi). With AirPlay you should be able to stream any content and hopefully in the future any App directly to the TV (including Games). I would like the ability to control what the kids are watching in their rooms all from my tablet or smart phone, or special dedicated device. Locally or remotely. This is the future I see, not searching through non-curated web content from a Google TV box, with large keyboard in hand.
    dave95.
    • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

      @dave95.
      The joy of using it? Boy, are you stupid.

      A $2 cable can get a computer onto a TV. Google TV does a little more than that.
      Droid101
      • Another genius....

        @Droid101 <br><br>Ok genius, care to explain to us how this computer attached to a TV worked so well in the past, in consumers living rooms? And how exactly does this relate in anyway what I was discussing, a wireless future of sending content from ones phones and tablets?
        dave95.
      • Double

        :
        dave95.
      • @dave95: MS has been very successful already

        [i]Ok genius, care to explain to us how this computer attached to a TV worked so well in the past, in consumers living rooms?[/i]

        MS has sold millions of XBoxes that do just that.
        NonZealot
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

        @NonZealot and how many use it in that way? very few.. it's a gaming box and that's how almost everyone uses it.. it's wonky and not easy enough to use and set up as a media streamer for the masses..
        doctorSpoc
      • Enough people do use it like that

        [i]very few..[/i]

        [b]You[/b] say very few but you have [b]absolutely[/b] no data to back you up. I say that yes, people [b]do[/b] use it like that because the Zune service on the XBox has been very successful. Once again, Apple is following a few years behind MS.

        [i]it's wonky and not easy enough to use and set up as a media streamer for the masses..[/i]

        You are lying. It is extremely easy to pair your XBox with your PC. In fact, the steps are pretty much the same as the steps required to pair your iPhone with your iTunes library so the Remote App will work. Is that too complicated to use and setup for the masses?
        NonZealot
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

        @NonZealot<br><br>If <B>enough</B> people were using that loud XBox 360 console as their media/movie device, Google TV and smaller companies like Boxee wouldn't be getting this much attention today. <br><br><i>MS has sold millions of XBoxes that do just that.</i><br><br>Windows Media Center shipped with millions of PCs, so with that logic, that must mean it's very successful and everyone's using it correct?
        dave95.
      • Wow, the dumb is strong in you

        [i]If enough people were using that loud XBox 360 console as their media/movie device, Google TV and smaller companies like Boxee wouldn't be getting this much attention today. [/i]

        So because MS has a successful media streaming device, everyone else should just stop?

        Idiot.
        NonZealot
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

        @NonZealot

        Who's talking about stopping? Try to keep up Zealot! The discussion is about revolutionizing the the living room. Who will it be, Apple with Apple TV? Google with Google TV? Or do you feel XBox already have that space locked? Funny I don't seem to see XBox 360 coming up when comparing these new crop of devices. Or PlayStation for that matter.

        Microsoft first attempted to claim the living room with Windows Media Centers but it was so complex, they only got a few fanatics and geeks to bite. They started shipping WMC installed in media PCs and still no mass adoption in the living room. I haven't seen the numbers who uses XBox as a media hub, but I've heard the complaints of failings and how loud it was in the living room.
        dave95.
      • LOL! You sure like slurping the kool-aid!

        [i]The discussion is about revolutionizing the the living room.[/i]

        Of course Apple and Google want you to think that they are revolutionizing the living room! You are a marketer's wet dream!

        We started this whole side discussion because you claimed that computers hooked up to TVs have failed. They haven't. Not at all. You would like to think that they've failed so you can claim that Apple "invented" the market but, once again, MS was there earlier and MS has sold millions of these living room computers (XBox) that allow you to stream content both from your personal library and also from a service that rents you video content... [b]just[/b] like Apple TV, the oh so late copy of what MS has been doing for years... again.

        Even more delicious is that for $50 more than an Apple TV, you can get an XBox that does everything an Apple TV can do plus it has apps and games. And if that argument sounds familiar, it is the exact same argument you Apple zealots use when convincing people to spend only $350 more than the Kindle in order to buy an iPad that is nothing more than a Kindle + apps.

        The funny thing with you Apple zealots is that "success" is always defined as being some number that is bigger than whatever MS has sold up until that point. So MS has "failed" in the living room because the millions upon millions of media streaming devices that they've sold is somehow just shy of what you would consider a success.
        NonZealot
      • RE: The Logitech Revue won't revolutionize TV at $300 accessories

        @NonZealot <br><br>Again. Windows Media Center shipped with millions of PCs, so that must mean it was very successful as a media streaming device correct? XBox sold millions of consoles so that must mean an equal amount of users are using its streaming media service in the living room correct? Is this your argument? <br><br>Who cares who came first. I remember how the Tablet PC came before the iPad. And how WinMo came before the iPhone. Very strong arguments there.
        dave95.