If you don't have a home theater PC or a networked console, Netgear's Digital Entertainer EVA2000 can put all those torrents—along with some Hulu action—onto your TV.
Connecting to your TV via HDMI/composite and your router via ethernet, the Digital Entertainer can stream a boatload codecs from your PC or networked storage, load media from a USB stick or stream YouTube from the web.
The catch, however, is that you'll need to purchase PlayOn ($40) if you'd like to stream the premium internet video services like Hulu, Netflix and CBS from a computer.
In other words, the Digital Entertainer's $150 price jumps to almost $200. And for $200, you're in console territory with the PS3 and Xbox 360 supporting UPnP, popular codecs like DivX and PlayOn services. Plus, the 360 obviously supports Netflix out of the box.
I'm not saying there's no point to one of these media streamers, but for $150 when they're not a turnkey solution to everything you want to do anyway, it's probably smart to shop around a bit. [Netgear]
NETGEAR Introduces Digital Entertainer Live, Compact All-in-One Set-top Box for Playing Home Media and Streaming Internet Video on HDTVs
Plays Movies, Videos, Music and Photos from USB Drives, Computers and Network Attached Storage; Accesses YouTube, Roxio CinemaNow On-demand Movies, Internet Videos, Hulu, Netflix and More
SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 8, 2009 - NETGEAR, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR), a worldwide provider of technologically innovative, branded networking solutions, today launched the newest Internet-connected set-top box in its popular "Digital Entertainer" product family. The new Digital Entertainer Live (EVA2000) is an easy-to-use and affordable Internet set-top box that enables viewers to play their digital media collections, YouTube videos and a wide range of other Internet content on big-screen TVs. Rather than having to watch downloaded movies and online videos on small computer screens, families can now enjoy media collections stored on USB storage devices, computers and network storage directly on their HDTVs, from the comfort of their couch.
In addition to personal media collections and YouTube, consumers can now easily browse, download and play newly released pay-per-view movies from Roxio CinemaNow. They can also view videos on their TV from a wide variety of Internet sources, such as Hulu, Netflix and CBS, through free software trials and optional subscriptions. The Digital Entertainer Live incorporates all of these functions into a single compact player, an advantage for cluttered home entertainment cabinets.
"People are amassing a huge amount of their own downloaded and personal digital music, photos, and videos, as well as consuming more and more Internet video," said Phillip Pyo, NETGEAR's director of product marketing for connected home entertainment products. "According to comScore's Video Metrix service, between January 2007 and July 2009, there was a 331 percent jump in the number of minutes of video watched per average viewer per month. It went from 2 hours, 31 minutes to 8 hours, 20 minutes."
He added, "The vast majority of people are still watching these videos on small computer screens, so it's logical to assume that the amount of time spent will continue to increase as devices such as the Digital Entertainer Live make it even easier to watch online video on HDTVs. NETGEAR is thrilled to offer an affordable, content-rich, and easy-to-set-up and -use solution that bridges this gap and enables people to fully enjoy their home media collections and online video from popular Internet sites on the best screen in their home - their big-screen TVs."
The Digital Entertainer Live - Product Features
The Digital Entertainer Live is a compact, "plug in and go" home media player with a simple remote control that enables consumers to easily access their digital movies, videos, music and photos directly from their USB storage devices and watch them on their TV. Users need only plug a USB hard drive containing digital media content into one of two USB 2.0 ports on the Digital Entertainer Live and connect the Digital Entertainer Live to their HDTV using an HDMI or composite cable. The Digital Entertainer Live also features regular RCA jacks for connecting to older analog TVs.
Furthermore, with its integrated network port, the Digital Entertainer Live easily makes an Ethernet wired connection to the Internet and the home network, enabling access to digital media content stored on computers and network storage devices in the home network, as well as Internet content over the web. If consumers do not have an Ethernet connection available near their TV, they can use the optional Digital Entertainer Live Wireless USB Adapter (EVAW111) that connects the Digital Entertainer Live to the Internet and the home network via Wi-Fi. Alternatively, they can use existing electrical power outlets and a powerline device, such as NETGEAR's Home Theater Internet Connection Kit (XAVB1004), to connect the Digital Entertainer Live to the Internet and the home network.
By connecting the Digital Entertainer Live to a broadband Internet connection, consumers enjoy the full YouTube experience - searching, browsing and watching millions of videos with access to subscriptions, playlists, country selections, categories and channels - all without the need for a computer. Instead of huddling around a small computer screen to watch the latest funny video, consumers can now show it on their TV for everyone to enjoy.
To widen the search for Internet video content, the Digital Entertainer Live is shipped with a built-in Internet video search engine that can locate videos on the entire worldwide web. The Digital Entertainer Live performs dynamic keyword searches of more than a hundred thousand websites for Internet videos without needing a computer. The search feature yields dynamic results with each letter inputted and automatically categorizes popular subjects into easy-to-find folders.
The Digital Entertainer Live also supports pay-per-view movies on-demand from Roxio CinemaNow, where users can buy or rent a range of newly released movies as soon as they are available on DVD and watch them in minutes. Consumers no longer have to wait for the mail or drive to the nearest rental store. They simply browse all the movies on their TV and download them to a USB storage device using their Digital Entertainer Live and Roxio CinemaNow account.
Additionally, the Digital Entertainer Live includes a free trial of VuNow, which provides access to hundreds of other Internet videos, live Internet TV and live Internet radio streamed from popular sites from around the world, such as Bloomberg, CNN Video, C-SPAN, ESPN, Germany's 2DF, Al Jazeera, BBC Worldwide, China's CCTV, Germany's DWTV, Euronews, EuroSport, France 24, France's Orange Sport, Germany's RTL, and Sky News. The Digital Entertainer Live also comes with a free trial of PlayOn software. By running this optional software on a computer also connected to the Internet and home network, users enjoy hit TV shows and movies from popular Internet video services such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, BBC iPlayer, CBS, NFL, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and more, wherever the service is normally available via the Internet.
"There is an ever-increasing amount of digital media - TV episodes, movies, photos and music - being stored on computers and other devices throughout the home, as well as on the Internet," said Jayant Dasari, broadband and television infrastructure and services research analyst at Parks Associates. "In fact, some people have even maxed out their personal computers with media, requiring external storage, such as one that connects via USB. Due to this increase in distributed digital media content, consumers are looking for ways to enjoy their digital media and online videos in one place. Internet-connected set-top boxes are one solution that enable the entire family to benefit from viewing the broadest spectrum of digital content on their HDTVs from the comfort of their living rooms."
Pricing and Availability
Backed by a one-year warranty and 24/7 technical support, the NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Live (EVA2000) is available in the U.S. through leading retailers, e-commerce sites and value-added resellers at an MSRP of $149.99. The Digital Entertainer Live Wireless USB Adapter (EVAW111) has an MSRP of $39.99. Worldwide availability of the Digital Entertainer Live is planned for the coming months.