Logitech unveils Google TV box
San Francisco - Logitech on Wednesday unveiled the first "Google TV" boxes touted as merging online content and traditional television offerings.
Logitech Revue boxes were priced at $300 each and will be available in the US by the end of October, according to the Swiss company specialising in keyboards, webcams and other peripherals for computers.
"With our line of products for Google TV, Logitech will help redefine the user experience in the digital living room," said Logitech chief executive Gerald Quindlen.
At a press event in San Francisco, Logitech demonstrated the boxes along with a palm-sized Mini Controller priced at $130 and a TV camera accessory for video conferencing with a price tag of $150.
A keyboard that will be bundled with Revue boxes will be sold separately for $100, according to Logitech.
"Google TV combines the power of search, a full web browser, and Android apps with the TV experience you know and love," said Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management for Google.
"We're proud to be working with Logitech to launch the very first set of Google TV devices, helping you and me easily access great web and TV content, all on the same HD screen."
Google said on Monday that Amazon, the NBA, Netflix, The New York Times, NBC Universal, USA Today and others will provide content and applications for Google TV.
Google TV, which the internet search giant unveiled in May at a software developers conference in San Francisco, is to be available this month.
Developed in partnership with Sony, Logitech and Intel, Google TV allows users to mesh television viewing with surfing the internet.
Google launched a website, Google.com/TV, that provides an explanation of how Google TV works and gives information about how to purchase an internet-enabled TV from Sony or a set-top box from Logitech.
Google TV, which is powered by Google's Android software and Chrome browser, can be accessed using the Sony TVs or set-top boxes from Logitech that route web content to existing TV sets.
Logitech boxes feature computer keyboards that act as Google TV remote controls. On-screen home pages let people search television programming as they do the internet.
"Smart TV delivers a truly integrated experience, with broadcast and the Internet united on one screen," said Wilfred Martis, a general manager at Intel Digital Home Group.
"Revue brings Google TV to existing televisions, and also offers video calling to provide a new dimension to home entertainment."
Logitech used an Intel Atom processor to power its box.
Google is not the first technology company to attempt to marry the TV set and the internet. A number of electronics manufacturers already offer web-enabled televisions or digital set-top boxes.
Yahoo! jumped into the internet television arena more than 18 months ago and Apple recently upgraded its offering, Apple TV.
A second-generation Apple TV device priced at $99 was introduced in September, offering a stark price comparison.
"Revue is a nice implementation of Google TV and certainly a richer experience than Apple TV, but it costs three times as much," said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley.
"For the early adopter it may be okay, but I'm not expecting them to have high volumes until the Google TV offering is fully cooked and the price drops below $200."
Google is still making deals with studios and other potential content providers, Enderle noted.
Revue boxes and peripherals were available for pre-order online at Logitech.com, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.