Netgear Digital Entertainer Media Players
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Netgear Digital Entertainer lets you enjoy some of your computers entertainment on your TV. From your own digital media stored on your computer or external USB drives, to YouTube and online videos.

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Digital Entertainer Video
Specifications

Product Features

  • Play movies, video, music and photos stored on USB drives, computers or NAS devices
  • Enjoy YouTube on your TV, without a computer
  • Watch pay-per-view new release movies on-demand via CinemaNow
  • Watch streaming video from Popular Websites and Live Internet TV via VuNow trial service
  • Browse and play popular movies and TV shows from Hulu?, Netflix?, CBS?, and more using PlayOn? on your PC

 

Netgear Digital Entertainer Review

Author: Steve Sanger - 04 Jan 2013

Pros


Affordable
Good quality with streaming from a portable hard drive
   

Cons


Streaming of Internet media has substandard playback quality
Not many services are available
   

In this review


Introduction
Video Quality
Services Available
Verdict

Quick Verdict


The Netgear Digital Entertainer is very affordable but does not offer support for many services and has no WiFi without purchasing additional adapters.

 

Introduction

Netgear Digital Entertainer was created to connect your television to your computer through an Ethernet cable. This could be a very handy device for watching Internet streaming media through your regular television. Additionally, video can also be viewed through portable hard drives and USB drives with this device. Users will be pleased to find itís not difficult to search through files on portable hard drives with this device at all. It will not need to scan your drives to find all available files. Simply plug in the drive and begin searching. Unfortunately, WiFi is not available with this unit. Therefore, a user can only connect this device to their computer through an Ethernet cable. Unless you Ethernet cables available in every room, this could prove to be a problem. Because of this, the Neo TV model Netgear has created may be a better option.

Video Quality

Video quality from the playback of files located on a hard drive is excellent in standard definition, but looks a little strange high definition screen. Also, Xvid encoded video files also playback rather nicely. Watching video streaming over an Internet connection requires a fast connection for quality video playback. Sadly, with this model some of your video may look a bit pixilated streaming over the Internet. Not only that but buffering may also be an issue. Connecting directly to your router will help this issue a bit. But in the end, video playback quality is better from a hard drive than streaming over the Internet. Or, itís possible to use wireless adapters as an option in connecting to your network. Users can locate USB ports on the unit where adapters can be plugged in. there are two USB ports available so users can attach one wireless adapter and one portable hard drive at the same time. Most of the popular video file formats are supported on the Netgear Digital entertainer.

Services Available

It is possible to access the VuNow service to watch some sites such as NBA.com, ESPN, and Discovery. In fact, there is a list of live Internet streaming channels available at all seem to work fairly well. The Netgear Digital entertainer also includes the Playon service. This is a subscription-based service that uses plug-ins to work. Some plug-ins available for this service includes Sky News, and ABC. With this plug-in a user can watch content provided by these services. Using the Playon service is a little clunky and the plug-in is hard to find. It will take some locate, but eventually a user will find these plug-ins located on the Netgear website. Once this plug-in is installed, the menu system is a little bit cumbersome it locating the Playon services with this device. Some of the more popular Playon services provided also include Hulu, Netflix, and Comedy Central. Sadly, the difficulties involved setting up Playon may not be worth what you will receive and playback looks awful on widescreen.

Finally, viewing content from your Windows-based computer may be a little difficult for you figure out how to access your files. Until you learn how to access these files, the Netgear Digital entertainer will continue to provide a warning message that says you do not have access. This can be remedied by right clicking on the Netgear Digital Entertainer device in your network list on your computer and enabling media sharing. Unfortunately, itís not very easy to view content from your computer and those who donít know their way around a computer may find it difficult.

Verdict

Overall, we found this device to be very disappointing. Even though it is extremely affordable, Netgearís Neo TV is just as affordable and is much easier to use with more features. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy to use Internet media streamer that also has a lot of features, this device is not for you. There is no WiFi support so users would have to run a lengthy Ethernet cord around their house unless they chose to purchase a USB WiFi adapter at additional cost.

Furthermore, the video playback provided by the Digital entertainer through an Internet connection leaves quite a bit to be desired. Although itís possible to watch YouTube videos and Netflix videos, video playback will be a bit pixilated. However, if the user is only interested in viewing video files stored on a portable hard drive, then the Digital entertainer is not a bad solution. Since Netgear has much better products on the market, itís difficult to recommend the Digital entertainer. There are far too many drawbacks. The best quality we found was affordability. Unfortunately, affordability is not enough of a selling point considering there are other available Internet media streamers that can be purchased for the same price. Plainly put users who are interested in viewing their Internet video subscription services on their television screen should try another product.

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