Logitech Acknowledges Google TV Set-Top Box a 'Big Mistake'

Google made waves last year for its introduction of Google TV, new software intended to integrate the Internet with television content and revolutionize the TV-watching experience. One of the key hardware launch partners for Google TV was Logitech, which offered its "Revue" set-top box for Google TV at a price of $299.

logitech revue
Google TV failed to catch on with consumers, and by July of this year Logitech had slashed pricing on the Revue box to just $99 and taken an accounting charge on the loss related to the below-cost sale price. The lack of consumer interest in Google TV reminded observers of comments made by Steve Jobs just after Google's announcement of its Google TV project.

Subsidized set-top boxes have squashed innovation because no one wants to pay for separate boxes...ask TiVo, Roku, us, Google in a few months. The set-top box needs to be torn up and redesigned to get people things they way they want them. And there's no go-to-market strategy for that. With the iPhone, and now the iPad, we could partner with carriers, but television is very balkanized...everything is local.

Just two weeks ago, Google announced a significant update to the Google TV platform, but Logitech apparently has no interest in being burned twice, as The Verge reports that the company has sworn off any further Google TV work and acknowledged that the original effort was "a big mistake". According to Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca:

To make the long story short, we thought we had invented [sliced] bread and we just made them. [We made a commitment to] just build a lot because we expected everybody to line up for Christmas and buy these boxes [at] $300 [...] that was a big mistake.

De Luca notes that Logitech "executed a full scale launch with a beta product", a decision that resulted in a $100 million loss for the company when consumer demand failed to meet expectations. De Luca admits that Google TV may yet have success in the market but that any such developments are some time away and will not involve Logitech.

Google is of course only one of the companies seeking to change the way users interact with and experience television. Apple's current Apple TV set-top box primarily serves to integrate iTunes Store content with television sets, but the company is said to be working on a revolutionary new Siri-based interface for an actual television set product that could launch by 2013. And Sony has also acknowledged its efforts in the field, seeing the need to step up and address Apple's success so far with its iTunes ecosystem as well its future television plans.

Top Rated Comments

Xenomorph Avatar
121 months ago
They shoved these out the door with Android crap on them and a $300 price tag. An Apple TV for $99 was way better. Heck, even Rokus are nice, and they can be had for only $59! Why would anyone bother with the Google TV?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dagamer34 Avatar
121 months ago
The Logitech Revue failed the "mom test": if you can't get your mother to set up a product with minimal effort on your part (the geek), it will never be a significant player in the market.

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Jobs said that people don't want to spend $300 on set top boxes and that Google (well, Logitech too) will learn that Christmas. (2010) Again, he showed he was right and the success of the $99 Apple TV shows people don't want to go above a certain amount for set top boxes.

The problem isn't even cost, as the price drop to $99 should have fixed that problem. It's too freaking complex. And IR boasters? Good lord imagine all the problems that could go wrong there.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChazUK Avatar
121 months ago
Logitech got burned hard! :eek:

Unless Google are able to take advantage of any links with Motorola and their STB distribution, I can't imagine it taking off.

On another note:
I really want a Siri powered TV. Why do you ask?

When the wife is watching her normal crap, I want to be able to interject and say "Siri, turn this **** off." for it to then do what I command. :cool:
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nosadge Avatar
121 months ago
A la carte, please

I really enjoy my :apple: TV 2, the only thing missing is subscriptions to specific channels or cheap single-show rentals. I only want to watch a few channels - Discovery, History, Nat Geog, etc. I don't even watch tv right now or use cable because 85% of the content in the packages is useless to me.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Codestud Avatar
121 months ago
Steve Jobs is perfectly correct about how TV companies foist their own set-top box ecosystems on customers.

It's because it is they who have the deals with the broadcasters and content providers.

In the UK, Sky controls a big part of the pay TV market and have for many years been supplying their own locked down set top boxes.

Admittedly though they are very good technically with a reasonably good EPG and have HD and PVR facilities etc. And for many people that's good - if you're prepared to pay for the privilege.

But, as with all these boxes if you want to stream your own user-generated content, or say, an integrated DVD/BD player then forget it!

So what happens in a typical house is you end up switching between set top boxes, devices and remote controls to do anything.

Throw in a 5.1 surround system with an AV receiver and that's another remote control.

Therefore, your TV, DVD/BD player, Sky box, 2nd gen Apple TV and AV receiver all have separate remote controls.

That's 5 remote controls - so you then you have go out and buy a universal remote of some sort like a Logitech Harmony or something.

This is all driving us crazy because the user experience is poor - we keep having to juggle all these devices and switching inputs on our TVs.

So, how Apple is going to solve these problems I do not know...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SockRolid Avatar
121 months ago
Ease of use is just the tip of the iceberg

You're 100% right. He even admitted that it's a Beta product AND too complex. I used it, minus the crashing, and it was very confusing to use.
Google TV, with its existing feature set, would have failed even if it were simple to use. The basic problem is that big-screen living room TVs are communal screens. (Unless, of course, you're single or family members have their own TVs in their rooms.) Much of the time, the big-screen TV experience is shared between family members.

Medium-screen computers and small-screen mobile devices are personal screens. They're mostly used for individual surfing, tweeting, texting, emailing, gaming, and even phone calls and doing work. And Google TV simply transferred all those personal internet tasks onto the communal big-screen TV in the living room.

So little Billy has to wait for Mom to finish checking her Twitter account before he can surf SpongeBob.Nick.com. Then Dad has to wait for Billy to finish surfing SpongeBob.Nick.com before he can work in Google Docs. And nobody is allowed to interrupt Toy Story 3 while the whole family is watching it together.

The problem is that the big-screen TV is a shared resource. Doing personalized internet tasks on Google TV causes resource contention among family members. They're forced to serialize their internet tasks, or to not perform those tasks at all when the whole family is simply watching content.

The concept of internet complexity and personalization on a big screen loses its novelty immediately. It's a bad computing experience and it offers nothing new in terms of the good old TV viewing experience. Google TV is just a 21st-century iteration of WebTV. WebTV failed. Google TV, as it stands now, will fail too.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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