The first set-top box running Google’s new TV software was unveiled today by Logitech, the Swiss peripherals company that also makes Harmony remote controls.
Logitech is taking pre-orders for a $299 kit that includes a wireless keyboard/remote control and a set-top box.
Google TV adds a search bar to the TV screen and a collection of applications through which videos and other content is distributed, similar to the applications available on newer TVs from Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio and others.
Google is working with content providers to develop custom applications for the platform, but what’s most notable is that the Google TV software includes a browser for viewing Web pages directly, unlike most new connected TV devices, which funnel everything through applications.
Logitech is the first of several partners rolling out Google TV products. On Oct. 12, Sony will announce new Blu-ray players and TVs with Google TV software built in.
Don’t look to Google TV to replace your cable TV service yet. The Logitech device requires you to also have a cable or satellite set-top box with an HDMI connection (or DirectTV service). It also requires a TV with an HDMI input to connect to the Logitech box.
Inside, the box has an Intel Atom processor designed especially for set-top boxes. In a way it’s similar to the mininature Atom-powered Media Center PCs from Asus, Lenovo and others that are designed to be mounted on the back of a TV, but those are full-fledged computers that let you load, store and share content.
Logitech’s “Revue” device has a USB port for connecting to external hard-drives and devices storing content, and it’s DLNA compliant, meaning it should be able to stream music, photos and videos from DLNA media servers on a home network.