And so the Logitech Revue experiment is over. It went out with a bang, with Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca reportedly describing the device’s launch as “a mistake of implementation of a gigantic nature.” There are also reports that the Revue cost Logitech more than $100 million. Ouch.
So why did this connected TV gadget crash and burn in such spectacular fashion? There are a few reasons. First, let me say I liked Google TV with the Revue. I wrote a review of the Revue (hee hee) for the March/April 2011 issue of Connected World magazine that you can look up, and in it I said the device was a lot of fun. What I enjoyed was the ability to watch Web content on the big TV screen, making Web surfing into a community activity instead of a solitary one. My husband and I could watch funny YouTube clips together instead of sitting isolated at our laptops. But in hindsight, perhaps this wasn’t enough to build a device around.
I also said I would not buy Logitech Revue for the then $300 price tag. This is another reason Revue failed. With such a high initial price for a device that was pretty unfamiliar to most people, consumers were not willing to buy the product. It looks like even slashing the price to $99 didn’t salvage the product’s image.
Content owners such as the major TV networks also had a hand in the Revue’s demise, as many of them blocked their content—even if it was free to watch online—from being accessible through Google TV. And finally, the device wasn’t extremely intuitive, another point I mentioned in my review. The keyboard controller was big and clunky, though with a lot of functionality. However, non-techies probably were not willing to figure out how to use it. A simple remote would have been much better.
Logitech has said it will not develop another device to replace the Revue. Personally, I think set-top boxes for Internet-connected TV might eventually have to cede the market to TVs with Internet functionality built in. It might be that people simply don’t want another box taking up space beside their DVR and Blu-ray player on the entertainment center. And they don’t want to mess with another remote control, let alone a keyboard.