Netgear’s Digital Entertainer could replace HTPCs

Written by Tim Smalley

January 8, 2008 | 21:02

Tags: #digital #hd #htpc #itunes #media #music #network #video #windows

Companies: #netgear

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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