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Netgear’s Digital Entertainer could replace HTPCs

Netgear’s Digital Entertainer could replace HTPCs

The Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000 could wipe out the need for an HTPC.

Netgear showed us its Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000 this morning at CES and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how flexible this set-top digital media receiver looks to be.

What it does is it automatically discovers media on storage devices and PCs connected to your network—this includes photos, music, videos and movies—and then organises the media into an easily accessible library. Once it has done this, you can then play the media through your television.

Users can also play HD movie downloads, including those bought from the new BitTorrent online marketplace, while you can also do things like check your email and even stream YouTube videos and Internet radio to your TV.

It’s also the only media streamer that can play protected files from iTunes and Windows Media, although Netgear says that iTunes support is currently only available on Windows PCs. When we questioned the company’s representatives, they did say that now that iTunes is moving closer towards a DRM-free model, we can expect the company to enable iTunes playback for Macs as well.

The list of usage models goes on and thanks to the HDMI port on the back you’ll be able to connect the device to your high-definition television and play back video at resolutions up to 1080p – all across your home network. Additionally, there is a TOSLINK output that transmits full digital surround sound to a digital audio receiver.

What I’m seeing here is something that could potentially replace the home theatre PC, as the unit is said to cost around US$300 and under £200 (inc. VAT) in the UK – that’s much less than it’s going to cost you to build a respectable HTPC that can handle full 1080p video playback.

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19 Comments

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Mr T 8th January 2008, 21:07 Quote
Looks very nice. Presumably silent too?
yakyb 8th January 2008, 21:11 Quote
very interesting wonder what the video quality is like looks like a winner tho. although i would still prefer a PC to play the odd Big screen game on:)
Tim S 8th January 2008, 21:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
very interesting wonder what the video quality is like looks like a winner tho. although i would still prefer a PC to play the odd Big screen game on:)

during the demo I saw, video quality looked superb. :)
DXR_13KE 8th January 2008, 23:55 Quote
i was waiting for something like this on the horizon.....
Demon Cleaner 9th January 2008, 01:45 Quote
Ugh, it's missing a dvd drive. How am I supposed to play all the stuff I have backed up?
Lowsidex2 9th January 2008, 04:26 Quote
I've played with a couple devices like this but the flaw is ALL of them so far has been the windows media center style interface that is severely lacking. I keep videos and music in long folder trees to sort them and I basically want a windows explorer type interface to view and select the content to play. I also want an interface that will properly play DvDs stored on my harddisks. The pictures I see don't look promising.
airchie 9th January 2008, 05:27 Quote
This player looks cool.
Does it do upscaling too, so that your lower-res movie files are scaled up nicely for your TV or does it leave that to the TV?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon Cleaner
Ugh, it's missing a dvd drive. How am I supposed to play all the stuff I have backed up?
Put it in a DVD drive shared on the network? :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowsidex2
I've played with a couple devices like this but the flaw is ALL of them so far has been the windows media center style interface that is severely lacking. I keep videos and music in long folder trees to sort them and I basically want a windows explorer type interface to view and select the content to play. I also want an interface that will properly play DvDs stored on my harddisks. The pictures I see don't look promising.
Maybe you could create a network share somewhere with shortened names that has shortcuts/mountpoints to the proper location of the files?
HourBeforeDawn 9th January 2008, 06:00 Quote
oh this looks nice but please oh please tell me that it supports wireless N ...
Jamie 9th January 2008, 10:24 Quote
Look like a copy of the apple TV but without the ties to the apple store and itunes. Will probably be quite hackable I expect.
keir 9th January 2008, 10:40 Quote
Very swish
Xir 9th January 2008, 12:22 Quote
...it automatically discovers media on storage devices and PCs connected to your network...

Do you really want a device to automatically find ALL the pictures and video's on your PC and make them available to anybody touching the remote?

(Like...your girlfriend, your grandma, a visiting friend)

;)

Xir
VictorianBloke 9th January 2008, 12:37 Quote
Any idea how big a drive this has in it for recording and possible upgrading?
[USRF]Obiwan 9th January 2008, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon Cleaner
Ugh, it's missing a dvd drive. How am I supposed to play all the stuff I have backed up?

It seems it has a usb connection so maybe a external dvd/hd-dvd/br drive could be connected to the netgear
airchie 9th January 2008, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorianBloke
Any idea how big a drive this has in it for recording and possible upgrading?
Not sure it would even have a drive, and what would it record?
I don't think it has a tuner in it... :)
timmehtimmeh 9th January 2008, 18:30 Quote
I came really close to buying an EVA 8000 last year but got worried that it would just end up being another £170 piece of hardware that doesn't play all media formats.

Ideally, it would play, h.264 (.mkv) 1080p encodes yet from the reviews I read - it was apparent it was not up to actually doing this - even over the gigabit home network.

would like to see a proper bit-tech review!!!!
timmehtimmeh 9th January 2008, 18:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
oh this looks nice but please oh please tell me that it supports wireless N ...

the wireless feature when paired with HD content is said to be useless. To be used with any content that is over for example 700MB/Hour - it would need to be wired.
fathazza 9th January 2008, 18:43 Quote
with it being netgear does that mean youll need to install software to make the networking to your pc work like their nas boxes?
airchie 9th January 2008, 22:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
with it being netgear does that mean youll need to install software to make the networking to your pc work like their nas boxes?

I'm not sure all their NAS boxes would need the software. ;)
hawky84 28th August 2008, 12:41 Quote
Are we going to get a full BitTech review of this? Am really considering getting one of these
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