Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA700 wireless media streamer
Pump HD content around your home
Review Another day, another media streamer. True, the concept isn't a bad one - video content is best enjoyed on a big telly in the comfort of your lounge, rather than hunched up in front of a computer screen. But with numerous offerings on the market, there's little to tell them apart. Netgear's Digital Entertainer EVA700, however, has a nifty little feature up its sleeve...
Like many such gadgets, it comes with standard composite-video, s-video and SCART connectos, but it's also packed with an HD component-video output. This means if you're HD ready but your component-video ports are just sitting there gathering dust, the EVA700 makes an ideal lounge-side companion.
Sadly Netgear hasn't gone the whole hog and included HDMI as well, which would provide flexibility depending on what HD sources you already have, and could prevent a plug fight at the back of your TV. Whatever your configuration the EVA700 has support for both 720p and 1080i HD resolutions, but not 1080p which some high-end sets are starting to support for the Blu-ray/HD DVD era.
The EVA700 offers both wired 100Mbps Ethernet and wireless 802.11g network connections. For standard-definition (SD) content either will be adequate. But if you're looking to push HD through the device, you're probably better off sticking to the wired link. With an un-congested 802.11g network and the wind behind it, it'll just about cope with HD over wireless, but if anyone else is using the connection, then dropped frames and blocky pictures could ensue.
If you're stuck with an older 11Mbps 802.11b wireless network, it'll still work for SD but you can forget about enjoying HD material, unless you consider YouTube to be the bastion of jitter-free video quality.
Setup is easy - plug the EVA700 in, turn it on and then configure your network security if necessary. It'll then probe the network and see what devices it can find. As it's Windows Media Connect compatible, if you've already got a machine set up to share your files you are but a click away from your media. If not, simply bung the bundled CD in your PC, install the software and point it in the direction of your media content.
It also picked up a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive sitting on my network automatically - a nice surprise - providing full access to the files stored on it. Furthermore, you can access and play files saved on a USB storage devices, such as Flash memory keys or even an iPod, by using the front-mounted USB port.
Good alternative DVR
Good article on the new Netgear entry to the still immature digital media receiver market, it very tough to pick between devices.
I just wanted to let you know about a good DMR I purchased 4 months ago, it's a Phillips SLM 5500, which does HD support over component (no HDMI unfortunetly) and similary to the netgear only does 720p and 1080i but it's a very good device, the remote is consumer friendly as per your comments on the netgear and I have not had a file as yet which it will not play.
It is Windows Media Connect compatible, but I find the bundled "Phillips Media Manager" software much better.
I do hope this market matures as i really do make good use of mine, no more plugging my Ipod into my stereo; just listen to music straight off my laptop, I also have a Maxtor MSS II NAS which is uPnP compatible so I when I'm using my laptop other people can still watch\listen to media, it just lacks the config options of the Media Manager software.
Best Regards, Chris Handley
Mpeg4 is a generic term...
i really wish when salesmen and tech sites/reviewers say things like "It can also turn its hand to WMV and MPEG 1, 2 and 4 formats." they made it perfectly clear that Mpeg4 is a generic term that infact covers far more than mear divX/Xvid video.
the truth is, it seems intentional to keep using this Mpeg4 general term so as to cover up the fact that AVC En/Decoding is not included in these new devices.
to be clear (as i hope theReg will be from now on) for video, Mpeg4 covers both the OLD Mpeg4-*ASP* (aka divx/Xvid *Part 2*)
and the far newer and better Mpeg4-*AVC* (aka H.264 _Part 10_)
heres a link to make it clearer as to why AVC is better, its got a lossless mode that ASP does not.
just add the old ASP or the new AVC to your text then at least people might start asking the right questions when they come to buy these bits of kit and perhaps even force the salesmen and HW/SW developers to finally put a simple and cheap FPGA thats able to decode AVC content.
and, have the ability to easy re-program it if a new codec is required for the end users use later.
KiloCORE FPGA's seem like a good and cheap investment for the devs and users alike for the future...
Two things I forgot to post
1. The firmware has an option which lets you choose between subtitles in German, English and French or switch them off completely. That contradicts the fact that when using DivX/XviD movies you principally should be able to choose from all the languages that the sub/idx files include. There is no indication whatsoever in the manual or anywhere else what types of subs are being supported, what file formats or why just these three languages are mentioned.So this makes no sense at all to me. Consequently I have not been able to see any subs so far.
2. Multiple audio tracks: The EVA always chooses the first audio track, no matter what. There is no menu to choose between different tracks. If the first audio track is in a language that you do not speak, currently there is no other option than to demux the movie and remux it only with the language track of your choice.
The Netgear support currently is mute on both issues.
Re the Mac question - I am not a Mac user, so I can only pin the problem down: The EVA afaik works with all UPnP media servers, so the Twonkyvision media server (30 day trial here: http://www.twonkyvision.de/Download/TwonkyMedia/index.html) should be fine for you too. Netgear themselves only point in the direction of Windows Media Connect (which I think is actually a pretty shitty program) and XP/SP2 or MS-MCE.