Just like the units we saw at the press events, the Revue is extremely easy to navigate. Its functionality is neatly sectioned into apps that serve very specific purposes. The most important app, of course, is the Google Chrome browser, which gives you access to just about everything on the web. I say "just about" because services like Hulu are still being blocked thanks to unfinished content deals. Using the browser is a lot like using a netbook. Pages won't load quite as quickly as they do on your computer, but it won't take you back to the late '90s, either.
Like with the Sony Google TV review, I was also a little disappointed in the Netflix application. The Watch Now titles aren't integrated to the content search functionality and you can't search or even browse content from within the app itself. Sure, you can just fire up Chrome and head over to Netflix.com, but some people have grown to like implementations like those offered on the Xbox 360 and PS3 better than the full site.
When playing media from an attached hard drive, playback wasn't exactly flawless. While there were no catastrophic problems, I did get some skipping when playing digital movie files. The problems did seem to ease after the first system update.
Despite having been hooked up for several days now, the first time the other people in my house even noticed the Google TV is when the alert for the update popped up on the screen. If you hook it up and tuck the keyboard away, its presence can go completely unnoticed. That’s both good and bad. The Revue is a great, unobtrusive way to get the web on your TV. Having it hooked up to your home theater will give you access to all kinds of content that would be otherwise difficult to access, even if you already have a web-savvy TV or game console. The drawback, however, is that the $300 price tag pretty much gets you a web browser and a new way to view the content currently playing on cable. Until developers star cranking out serious Android apps for this thing—and Google gets the rest of the content deals hammered out—the Revue will likely be a passive player in your media consumption experience.
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