Netgear EVA2000 Digital Media Player
The Netgear EVA2000 sets out to make short work of streaming content from your PC to your TV but it's ultimately a bit of a disappointment.
|Product Pros:||+ Adequate at streaming movies and music over a HomePlug network|
- Not properly converted to the UK
- Pricey and lacks latest features
Most of us watch online video on our PCs but we'd probably prefer to be watching it on our TV sets. Unless you've got some kind of bridging device, however, getting content from your PC to your TV can be a hassle. The Netgear EVA2000 is a new device that seeks to make the job easier.
There are two main thrusts to the device. First, it's a network extension to your PC-based media that lets you enjoy videos, photos and music on your TV. Second, it's a gateway to internet content, including YouTube videos and live video streaming from a range of international TV stations including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
It'll connect to an Ethernet network, either directly to a router or via a HomePlug network. There's no Wi-Fi option but one of its two USB sockets could be devoted to this with an optional adapter (costing around £40).
Disappointingly, the device only supports HD up to 720p. It doesn't support 1080i so, if you've got a full HD TV ready and waiting, it won't make full use of the technology. Considering that £100 video cameras can record in 1080i nowadays, this falls short of expectations. What it does play comes through smoothly though, and connecting via a HomePlug device to a computer in another room was perfectly satisfactory in our test.
Ease of use
The interface looks reasonably slick but, like many such devices, it suffers from trying to remain flexible while offering coherent access to the vast array of file types. As a result, the implementation of its BBC iPlayer and YouTube options are clunky. Scrolling through media for streaming off your hard disk isn't much better, either.
Value for money
The ultimate disappointment is that, to receive certain services, including the BBC's iPlayer, you need a third-party subscription to PlayOn (www.playon.tv). This costs $39.99 (about £27) for the first year, then $19.99 (around £13.50) for each subsequent year. The added cost of the subscription wouldn't be so bad if most of the services it connected to - Netflix, Hulu and the like - were available in the