Logitech launches Google TV at $300

Logitech has set a benchmark price of $300 for the new Google TV service, with the official launch of its Revue set-top box and controller.

That’s three times the price of Apple TV, but the two services are very different in features and approach, with Google TV offering much tighter integration with existing TV channels.

The Logitech launch in San Francisco came ahead of Sony’s unveiling of its version of Google TV in New York next week, where it is expected to be shown integrated into a TV set and Blu-ray player. There was no news of when Google TV would be available overseas from Logitech or Google executives.

Logitech is offering a set-top box that sits between a cable or satellite receiver and the TV. An HDMI cable is connected from the receiver to the Revue and then another HDMI cable links the Revue to the TV.

This allows Logitech to overlay Google’s service and provide picture-in-picture options for viewing TV programming and web content.

The Revue comes with a wireless keyboard with a trackpad that act as a remote. The controller incorporates Logitech’s Harmony technology, enabling it as a universal remote.

Accessories include a $150 Logitech TV cam, offering video conferencing from within Google TV, and a $130 mini-controller.

Dish Network subscribers will be able to buy the Revue and controller for a discounted $179 and enjoy tighter integration, with Google TV’s universal search function also able to find content stored on their DVRs.

Features that everyone can enjoy include a search and browser interface that allows content to be found on local devices, TV channel listings and across the web. Music, photos and videos from PCs on a home network can be streamed on the TV and anything being watched on a smartphone can be switched over to the TV screen. Google TV will feature apps from the Android Market from early 2011 and Google on Monday announced a number of content partners providing services optimised for Google TV at launch.

Logitech said its system was compatible with 60m HDTVs in the US and any set-top box with an HDMI connection. The Revue should be available by the end of October and we plan a full review before then.