Netgear's Attempt at Convergence

A popular product at Netgear’s booth this year was Netgear’s EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD. 

Although we’ve seen networked set-top boxes before, this one looks to have upped the ante with 1080p HD playback over HDMI and the ability to watch YouTube videos.  You can search for a specific YouTube tag or use one of the pre-defined searches on the unit such as the Top 25 videos.  The box does lack user defined YouTube search queries, however.  Representatives at Netgear’s booth told us this was a limitation on You Tube’s side because there is no open interface to their search engine yet. 

In addition to YouTube, the EVA8000 can stream audio, video and pictures from your PC (or Mac, or any UPnP capable storage device).  Streaming can be done over either a 10/100 ethernet connection or 802.11b/g.  Most popular non-DRM codecs are supported including MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, and FLAC on the audio side.  Video codecs include MPEG 1, 2, 4, WMV, XVID and DIVX (unofficially).  The unit can also pass-through (but not decode) digital audio over the optical TOSLINK connector.  A receiver that can decode digital audio will be required in order to take advantage of this, however.

One feature we really enjoyed about the EVA8000 was it’s ability to stream content without requiring software to be installed on your computer.  The box can grab content from any UPnP-capable storage device and even access SMB drives.  Proprietary software is only required for playing DRM content or scheduling recordings (which uses your PC’s TV tuner and hard drive).

The biggest disappointment of this unit is it’s price tag.  Netgear says the unit will MSRP for around $350 and will be available in Q2 2007. 

Index Netgear Powerline HD HDX101
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  • SignalPST - Thursday, January 18, 2007 - link

    I'm very interested in the Samsung 30" LED LCD. Awesome resolution, great response and contrast, and most imporantly, it'll have very good color reproduction. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    Those micro projectors are sweet, and being LED powered, and priced right, will be something I'm lookin to buy. Reply
  • semo - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    about the quad hd display
    quote:

    Currently pricing is determined by the application, but expect to pay upwards of $50,000 for this set.
    that got me thinking so i phoned westinghouse and here is the conversation word for word:
    1st phone call:
    me:we need those 4 in 1 plasmas.
    westinghouse: do you mean our quad full hd displays
    me: yeah, yeah those jobies. we need 10. 5 minutes ago. move it move it.
    wh: who are you?
    me: military.
    wh: that will be $250,000 per display sir.

    2nd phone call:
    me: [in poorly imitated feminin voice] we are interested in buying a qhd display from you.
    wh: and you are?
    me: nuns.
    wh: we can give you one for $10,000 but let me speak to my manager.
    me: ok dear.
    ---muzak---
    wh: yeah ok great news, we can get you one $5,500.
    me: [voice almost back to normal] thank you child.
    Reply
  • kirbalo - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    I was at the show and the LG Rep. told me that both the Consumer player, and the PC Drive would both retail for about $1100 next month...not $2000. Reply
  • ManveerW - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    kirbalo,

    The cost of the drive will actually be around $1200. I corrected it in the article. Thanks for pointing it out!

    Manveer Wasson
    Reply
  • somegeek - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    After the first CES 2007 article "Convergence Happened" I was expecting something new. None of the products at the show have made convergence a reality. It's still an ambiguous, convoluted idea, like converging movies and games.

    - Set top boxes, like AppleTV, have been around for years and have failed to catch on.
    - Xbox 360 is not an option for people who don't play games, so it won't be mainstream.
    - IPTV on the Xbox 360 will have a smaller audience than the Xbox 360.
    - Small HTPCs haven't caught on, DTX won't change that.
    - The iPhone is a Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

    Convergence hasn't happened and it won't ever happen. Specialized, divergent technology is:
    - Cheaper to buy
    - Cheaper to build
    - Easier to use
    - Easier to make
    - Easier to sell
    - More efficient
    - More reliable
    - More profitable
    - Smaller
    - Simpler
    Reply
  • mesyn191 - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    Sure, there were a few cool things, but so hideously expensive even if I sold my right kidney it'd only be enough for the down payment on the loan to pay for em'. All the HD stuff is so DRM'd no freakin' way am I gonna be paying money for it, don't see how many other people will either. Reply
  • randomlinh - Thursday, January 18, 2007 - link

    I doubt people will care about DRM for now. Not many people seem to bother trying to back up their movies they buy. I don't see that changing. Therefore those who complain are in the minority. Reply
  • srue - Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - link

    I like the "No Cameras" sign below the Samsung Wireless Plasma. Reply

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