If you stream your shows online, you are no doubt in a #showhole, as Amazon puts it. If you’re like me and are sucked into the Marvel and DC Universes (sorry Game of Thrones peeps) you’ll be waiting at least another week and until end of February to find out what happens after those cliff hangers. In the meantime, you have a lot of free time on your hands and an unlimited potential of things to watch.
Some of you watch your shows on your phones, your laptops, and, of course, your televisions. And when it comes to watching them on bigger screens, you’ll need some help streaming that.
You may have a new enough Smart TV that has streaming services built into it and connects via WIFI or ethernet, or you can go the alternate route and use something like Chromecast.
As the ever frugal person that I am, I went the cheapest route and went with a laptop and an HDMI cable to stream my shows. It works nicely and I’ve gotten quite used to it. I have the full functionality of my laptop on a much bigger screen, including reading and replying to emails, browsing the web, and streaming shows on any service.
It’s only been made easier since I’ve been using the Logitech diNovo Mini that I mentioned in my first column. It’s still a fantastic device.
The only downside to that setup is connecting and disconnecting my laptop any time I want to use it as the portable device it should be, along with the initial set up to get screen sizing right and a resolution that allows me to read all those tiny little letters.
Luckily, I found a great solution for that on one of my last visits to Goodwill. Enter the Logitech Revue. It launched in 2010 as one of the first devices with GoogleTV and originally sold for $299.99, I picked it up for $5.99.
It caught my eye when I saw the Logitech and Intel ATOM logo etched on top. I quickly found a power supply and bee-lined to the register. I went across the street to my second home, the Olive Way Starbucks (AKA Gaybucks), whipped out my laptop, and started doing some research on my latest find and discovered that it’s a streaming device; a GoogleTV box. I’ve also learn that it’s actually compatible with a few Logitech devices I already own too!
I went home to check out what this little box could do, set it up, configured its connections, and logged into my streaming services. GoogleTV has been replaced by AndroidTV and so it is a little bit outdated, but it was nothing a few workarounds wouldn’t fix. It is after all an Android device.
Once all was said and done, it could do pretty much anything my computer could do: stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Amazon Prime. I could download other apps like Comedy Central, The CW, Tubi TV, and all major stations like CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, as well as Google Play Movies & TV.
Video streaming isn’t the only thing this set top box could do, though. It also had Pandora Built in, and, along with the Chrome Browser, I can stream virtually any music app as well. It sports two USB ports, so I can plug in an external or flash drive to watch and listen to movies, music and other content. And, of course, I can enjoy all the fun of the internet with its integrated desktop Chrome browser that supports both Flash and HTML5.
I have to say one of the coolest things is the built in video chatting service. It can use the Logitech TV Cam, which sells for an average $70.00, that I’d picked it up at Goodwill for $12.99. It’s a camera that plays super well with Skype so it makes video chatting a breeze. And since it integrates so well, there’s even an indicator on the camera itself to show video messages are waiting for you. I initially picked it up to use with my computer, but was delighted to find what it was originally designed for, and it works amazingly.
The real cherry on top is that, while the Revue originally came with its own keyboard (that I didn’t find at Goodwill), it actually works amazingly well with my diNovo Mini. Logitech actually made a special version made for GoogleTV that I will be ordering soon.
This set-top literally replaces all the media functionality that I was using my laptop for, and then some. I have on older Sony Bravia LCD TV that works, so an aftermarket device like the Logitech Revue is a perfect solution to streaming right to my television.
I plan to use every function of this set-top box, especially the video calling camera and service. I can chat with my friend down in Portland (who I don’t get to see as often as I’d like) and she will literally be right in my living room with me. At some point I’m going to run out of power outlets for all these awesome electronics, but they’re all great finds!