While the Apple TV and Roku boxes are peripherals that plug into your TV set, the Google TV-based Revue aims to be the main focus of your TV experience. You plug your cable or satellite box and your DVR into the Revue's HDMI In port and control everything from the Google TV main screen. It will probably feel like the best integrated TV-watching experience you've had since before the VCR was introduced, but that's not to say it's not quirky and occasionally confusing.
The Revue is much larger than most set-top boxes -- about the same size as a netbook. Logitech clearly realized that this is more space than most entertainment centers have to spare, so it provides a tiny IR receiver so you can tuck the actual box out of the way somewhere and use the receiver to control it.
The remote -- which, at 13 x 4.5 x 0.75 in. at its thickest point, is also jumbo-sized -- includes a modified QWERTY keyboard. However, the action area you'll use most is only about the size of an iPhone: It's a 3.0-x-4.5-in. area at the top right that includes a laptop-style trackpad with mouse buttons at the top, remote-style arrow keys with a central OK button in the middle, and step-back and Home keys squeezed up close to the trackpad.
Setting up the Logitech Revue is slightly more complex than the other two units reviewed here -- mostly because it does so much more than they do. It's designed to sit between the source of your TV signal and your TV set, and also control your DVR machine, so you need to think through which HDMI cable goes where -- and supply the second HDMI cable, because the box provides only one along with a laptop-style power brick and cord. On the plus side, there are two USB ports to accommodate external hard drives or memory sticks with movie and audio files.
Once the Revue is plugged in, you're whisked through setup videos to help you configure everything. This includes steps the other set-top streamers don't have, such as programming your Revue remote to control your television, DVR and cable box.
That's not to say the Revue doesn't have its quirks. For example, one of the first steps required to configure this Android-based set-top box is to enter your Google ID, but that doesn't mean you're automatically logged into Google properties like YouTube or Gmail when you visit the YouTube channel or open the bundled Google Chrome browser.