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Netgear Ships 500GB Networked Player

4/20/2009 03:28:00 PM Eastern

San Jose, Calif.  — Netgear shipped its first networked digital media adapter (DMA) to incorporate a hard disk drive for storing content locally.

The $399-suggested Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150 streams audio and high-definition video to an A/V

Netgear's 9150


The $399-suggested Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150 connects to a home A/V system to play back content stored on an embedded hard drive or streamed from on a network PC or NAS device.

system from a networked PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device in multiple digital media file formats and codecs. As the company's first DMA to incorporate a hard drive for additional storage capacity, the device also operates as a digital media player (DMP). Its 500GB hard drive stores audio, video, and images transferred from a networked PC or, via two USB ports, from a USB-drive or other USB-equipped device, including a digital camera.

For networking, the 9150 incorporates wired Ethernet port, built-in Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g and built-in draft 802.11n. It also features Netgear's Push-N-Connect technology to connect to a wireless network without typing in an encryption code.

The device differs from other DMPs and DMAs in many respects, Netgear claimed. It offers more storage than other DMPs and supports more audio and video codecs than other DMAs and DMPs, the company said. It also networks with any PC, Mac, NAS device or Linux computer, the company said. In contrast, Windows media extenders network only with Media Center PCs, Xbox networks with Media Center PCs and other universal plug-and-play-equipped PC, the company continued. AppleTV links only to a computer's iTunes application, the company added.

With a networked PC turned off, the device goes out directly to a networked broadband modem to stream internet radio stations, YouTube videos, and images from the Flickr photo-sharing site. With the PC on, the device streams PC-stored music, TV shows and other video at up to 1080p resolution, the company said.

The 9150 automatically finds all digital media files on one or more networked PCs or NAS devices and organizes the content into a library even if the devices lack Microsoft’s UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) software, Netgear noted.

Consumers can also transfer content to the device’s hard drive from a networked PC, but only unprotected content can be transferred from the PC for local storage. Protected iTunes music downloads and protected WMA and WMV downloads must be streamed over the network from the PC on which it resides. The device doesn't support streaming of Apple-protected video from a PC.

Apple does not license out its FairPlay DRM to other companies to stream protected iTunes music downloads over a home network, but the NetGear device nonetheless streams Apple’s protected music downloads from a networked PC by first converting the protected digital music to analog and then back to digital.

Other features include 1080p upscaling HDMI output and passthrough of surround-sound codecs such as Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD Master.