However, there is an area where you can't fault the EVA8000: codec support. With the beta firmware installed you can pretty much throw any file generally available at it and it'll be able to produce a picture. For a full rundown of what it can support, take a look at the table below. It shows the results of testing the player with the majority of formats you're currently likely to encounter. In the table, Y means the file played back without a hitch, P indicates that the EVA8000 could play the file but not without dropping frames, and N means that file wouldn't play at all.
EVA800 Codec Support
Highest bit-rate in Mb/s
Hardware wise, the EVA8000 has pretty much everything you'd want. There are HDMI and component-video ports for high-def output plus co-ax and optical digital audio out for surround sound. There's a network port and built-in wireless, plus two USB ports - one at the front and one at the back - for hooking up external storage.
The device will function happily as a standalone unit, although the set-up routine does try and push you to install the accompanying PC application to help it out. You'll also need to set up the PC side of things if you want to watch YouTube videos directly from the box - but watching squished, blocky, lo-res YouTube on a hi-def display is such a horrific experience you're unlikely to miss this functionality if you skip the PC install.
One irksome thing about the EVA8000 is the way it handles media files. It tries to index and organise everything for you, which would be acceptable if it wasn't such a time-consuming process. Scanning a 500GB network drive for content took over an hour.
Every time you add any addition files, you need to perform what Netgear terms a 'quick scan' - this can take anything up to 15 minutes. This could all be forgiven if you could simply browse the directory structure on attached drives manually, but even with folder browsing turned on you still can only see files that have been indexed.
Netgear's EVA8000 really should be a fantastic media player, but it currently falls flat thanks to two issues. The major clanger is its lack of high bit-rate content support. There's a small chance that this could be rectified in future firmware updates, but it's unlikely to improve drastically as it's probably down to the amount of physical buffer memory available.
The second big problem is the way it handles file indexing, which is time-consuming. However, provided you keep its index up to date and don't throw any high bit-rate files at it, it's a great little player. Given Netgear's commitment so far to regularly-issued firmware updates, there's a chance the problems could be fixed in the future.
Netgear EVA8000 network media player
RE: page down
Scott there is a page down button, instead of using the up and down arrows if you use the ones to the right of them, cant remember off hand now but it definately works!
The screenshots in the article are from the unit... i've not used the 7000 but have few issues with the 8000 - a page down button may be handy as some menus can take time to scroll all the way through, but my Logitech Harmony remote adds that feature for me anyway, so no issue!
Hope it's got a better interface than the EVA700
Last may I bought the little sister to the EVA8000, the EVA700. After a few days I sent it back and got my money back because of the most appalling UI. Oh and the Wi-fi didn't work either.
The MCE market is maturing, slowly but after my bad experiences with EVA I'm not rushing in again in a hurry.
They're working on an 802.11n draft wireless add on upgrade too....
There is no need for anything more than 100Mbps network... it's a media streaming device and for the forseeable future there is no media available that requires more than 100Mb, so why fit a more expensive 1000Mb NIC when it's totally not required?
My unit plays 1080p MKV files over the wired LAN without issue too, the standard firmware is flaky to say the least, but get the Beta ones (which won't ruin your warranty) and it's a much improved device.
It's a much, much better device than a PS3 as it's designed as a media server and not a games console (i have access to both) and can handle MKV etc, it also allows DTS/Dolby Digital pass through etc which i don't believe the PS3 can at the moment?
With regard to the media indexing, it can be a bit of a pain if you have just downloaded a file and have to watch it at that time.... i tend to copy the file to a USB flash drive and plug that in, that then takes less than a minute to scan and index... otherwise i copy the files to my NAS and set the system to reindex overnight, thus it's very rarely out of date.
From trying many of these devices in various places, it was the best i can find and it has a very active support forum and upgrade/update process, which few of the other systems do.
I highly recommend it!
The review didn't mention that the unit provides an archaic 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port. Personally I would have expected a unit for HD content to have a 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet port. eSATA 3Gb/s connectivity would be nice too.