I’m a firm believer in Google TV. I think the platform has more promise than any other software running on set-top boxes today. With the right vision and some fulfilment on promises Google has made in the past, I think it’s quite possible for the company’s platform to entirely change the way we enjoy entertainment in the living room.
But in its current form, Google TV isn’t there. Content providers aren’t playing nice with Google and running the platform in tandem with your cable provider’s DVR won’t deliver the same appeal that DISH customers enjoy. I view the software more as a proof-of-concept than a nicely thought-out implementation.
Realizing that, I just can’t see why Logitech continues to sell its Revue set-top box for a whopping $300. Yes, I know that it’s running Google TV, and the platform can do more than, say, the software running on the $99 Apple TV, but it’s clear now that the excitement everyone had about Google TV has died down. And it’s being viewed as what it really is: an under-performing entertainment platform.
As far as I’m concerned, the Logitech Revue should be selling for $150 at most. At that price, the company will be able to drum up some demand for the device, hopefully get most of its investment back, and at least have an installed base in place for when Google gets serious about its platform.
But the need for a price cut goes beyond demand.
Earlier this month, Vizio, currently the second-largest TV maker in the U.S., announced that it will offer Google TV in some of its sets going forward. In addition, reports surfaced last week claiming ARM-based Google TV devices are scheduled to launch “soon.” With the help of ARM, vendors should be able to offer lower-cost technology, pushing down the average price of Google TV products.
Logitech continues to feel pressure outside of the Google TV market, as well.
Apple announced in December that it hit 1 million unit sales of its Apple TV. The figure isn’t staggering, but it effectively highlights that the platform is catching on. And let’s face it: Logitech doesn’t enjoy the same brand recognition that Apple does.
Moreover, Roku’s set-top boxes, which can be purchased for as little as $60, continue to sell well.
So, I’m a little confused by Logitech’s insistence on maintaining its $300 price tag on the Revue. I understand that it wants to get every last dime out of its investment and I think it believes that the device will offer more value when Google updates its platform, but by then will it be too late? At least right now, the Revue is somewhat new and relevant. In a few months, it could be just another forgotten toy that failed to catch on with the mainstream.
Say what you will about Logitech and the future of home entertainment, but unless the company starts realizing that it’s not as well-positioned as it could be, and it understands that the competition is offering cheaper and more compelling alternatives, it simply won’t see success in the set-top box space.