Netgear’s new set-top boxes connect internet video to TV
By Mike Hanlon
January 7, 2009
January 6, 2008 Internet video consumption is growing rapidly, and many people are finding their choice of video source (the internet) is still cut off from their preferred video viewing medium/location (the TV and loungeroom). People want to access internet video from a TV and two products debuted by Netgear at CES today offer just that. The US$200 Internet TV Player (ITV2000) enables internet video on a HDTV or old analog TV, but it was the US$400 Digital Entertainer Elite (EVA9150) that really blew our socks off. Think of the EVA9150 as a video jukebox incorporating video, audio and wireless technologies. Its integrated 500GB hard drive is easily upgradeable, and it automatically finds all digital media files on the home network (including Win, Mac and Linux PCs) and organizes them into an accessible library. It works with Networked Attached Storage (NAS) devices, and supports an unmatched array of file formats. Two USB ports enable access to content on a USB flash drive, digital camera, iPod or other USB storage device. Multiple units can work in concert throughout a home, offering a flexible living space media experience. F’rinstance you can pause a video in one room and resume it in another or synchronize music/video playback for every room.
Internet TV Player (ITV2000)
NETGEAR’s Internet TV Player (ITV2000) is a compact, easy-to-use, “plug in and go” Internet set-top device with a simple remote control that enables viewers to catch up on the world of Internet videos including YouTube, live Internet TV, popular Internet video websites, premium video-on-demand and online video searches retrieving billions of Internet videos from a place it was previously unavailable — the TV in their living rooms. Rather than watching videos on PC screens in separate rooms, families can watch video from a variety of Internet sources on the TV together, in the comfort of their den or family room.
The Internet TV Player unlocks the value of new HDTVs as well as old analog TVs. It is ideal for the Internet families who enjoy online video, and for those who are geographically displaced from their preferred television content, such as international sporting events and Bollywood productions. It streams content from popular sites such as BBC.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, EuroSport.com, NBC.com, PGATour and TMZ.com, as well as video powerhouses YouTube, Google Videos, Yahoo Videos™ and MetaCafe™. NETGEAR’s Internet TV Player supports streaming of live TV broadcasts from Internet sites around the world, and premium, paid movies on demand such as CinemaNow.com, in addition to downloaded videos from sites such as BitTorrent. Its superior VTap video search capabilities enable the intelligent search of Internet videos, including targeting video sites by country, topic of interest, person or popular website. Consumers are also able to play video, music, and photos from a local USB flash drive as well as from the NETGEAR ReadyNAS family of storage solutions.
Slightly larger than a deck of cards, the compact Internet TV Player connects to the home network and the Internet via Ethernet or wireless USB adapter. It does not require a PC to play Internet video, nor does it require installing any PC software or setting up file sharing or firewall settings.
The NETGEAR Internet TV Player (ITV2000) is expected to be available in early Summer 2009 through leading retailers, e-commerce sites, and value-added resellers, at an MSRP in the U.S. of $199.
Digital Entertainer Elite (EVA9150)
For more dedicated media enthusiasts, NETGEAR’s Digital Entertainer Elite (EVA9150) incorporates the latest video, audio and wireless technologies to deliver an unparalleled living room experience. Its integrated 500GB hard drive, easily user-upgradeable to larger capacity disks, makes the Digital Entertainer Elite the world’s most powerful home video jukebox on the market. Consumers can play on their TVs Blu-Ray quality up to 1080p digital video, high-resolution digital photos, MP3s and recorded television shows from their PCs or storage on their network. They can also enjoy Internet content, such as YouTube, Internet radio, Flickr, RSS feeds, and videos from popular websites. The Digital Entertainer Elite automatically finds all digital media files on the home network and organizes them into an easily accessible library. The Digital Entertainer Elite is exceptional in that it works simultaneously with Windows, Mac and Linux computers, and Networked Attached Storage (NAS) devices, such as NETGEAR’s award-winning family of ReadyNAS storage solutions. It supports an unmatched list of file formats, including:
• Video formats: AVI, DivX, Xvid WMV, MOV, M4V, MP4, VOB, MPG, MP1, MP2, MP4, ISO, IFO, MKV, TS and M2TS; • Audio formats: MP1, MP2, MP3, WMA, WMA-Pro, AAC, FLAC, AIFF, WAV, LPCM, Dolby AC3 5.1 stereo downmix, Dolby AC3 5.1 passthrough, DTS 5.1 passthrough, Dolby TrueHD Downmix, Dolby+ Passthrough and DTS-HD Master Audio passthrough; • Subtitle formats: SUB, SRT, SMI, SAMI, TXT and DVD Subpicture; and, • Video codecs: MP1, MP2, MP4, Xvid, VC-1/WMV-9, H.264 and OpenDivX.
The Digital Entertainer Elite’s two USB ports also enable instant access to content on a USB flash drive, digital camera, iPod or other USB storage device. Three of NETGEAR’s exclusive RangeMax™ internal metamaterial antennas and Dual-Band wireless 802.11n give the Digital Entertainer Elite the best wireless performance of any digital media player on the market. More specifically, the Dual-Band wireless enables the Digital Entertainer Elite to pick from not only three 2.4GHz channels, crowded by 802.11g wireless networks in the neighborhood, but up to twenty clearer channels in the 5GHz band. Further, the Sigma Designs 8635 chip ensures the most powerful and flexible audio and video performance.
Multiple NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Elite units can work in concert throughout a house. Using “Follow Me,” consumers can pause a video in one room and resume it in another. While in “Party Mode,” they can synchronize music playback for whole-home listening.
The Digital Entertainer Elite also features NETGEAR’s award-winning Push ‘N’ Connect to seamlessly and securely connect wireless clients based on Wi-Fi Protected Set-up (WPS), eliminating the need to remember or input password keys. Further, NETGEAR’s Digital Entertainer Elite includes environmentally friendly features, such as an energy-efficient power supply and auto-sleep mode.
Backed by a one-year warranty and full 24/7 technical support, the NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Elite (EVA9150) is expected to be available in February through leading retailers, e-commerce sites, and value-added resellers at an MSRP in the U.S. of $399.
“NETGEAR’s product introductions take advantage of two major trends that we are seeing with consumers — digital media and connectivity,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst of Parks Associates, which specializes in research and analysis for digital living technologies. “First, as digital media collections grow, we anticipate that the average broadband household will require a significant amount of additional storage and media centralization capabilities. Second, our Digital Media Evolution study finds high demand for connected CE experiences that can deliver premium Web content to the living room.”