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NetGear Streams Internet Radio, Video

Netgear’s $399-suggested Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150, due in February, is a combination digital media adapter (DMA) and digital media player (DMP) that streams audio and high-definition video to an A/V system from a networked PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device.

With a networked PC turned off, it goes out directly to a networked broadband modem to stream internet radio stations and other content sites, including YouTube and the Flickr photo-sharing site.

It’s also the company’s first DMA to incorporate built-in hard drive, turning it into a DMP. The 500GB hard drive stores content transferred from a networked PC or, via USB port, from a USB-drive or other USB-equipped device, including a digital camera.

Only unprotected content can be transferred from the PC for storage on the 9150. Protected iTunes-downloaded music and protected WMA and WMV files must be streamed over the network from the PC on which it resides. Although Apple does not license out its FairPlay DRM for protected music downloads, NetGear converts the protected digital music to analog and then back to digital to stream over the network. The device doesn’t support streaming of Apple-protected video from a PC.

Streamed audio and video is buffered by the 9150 as they’re streamed so that if a consumer’s network speed is inconsistent, the playback experience is still going to be good, a spokeswoman added.

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

It differs from other DMPs and DMAs in many respects, Netgear claimed. For one thing, it networks with any PC, Mac, NAS device or Linux computer, whereas Windows media extenders network only with Media Center PCs, Xbox networks with Media Center PCs and other universal plug-and-play-equipped PC, and AppleTV links only to a computer’s iTunes application.