Netgear's Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150 is a good media streamer, let down by a clunky interface

Netgear's Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150 is a good media streamer, let down by a clunky interface

Jam-packed with features, but it struggles to compete with the best.

Features & Design:
Value for money:
> Product website
Price: $602
> Pricing info
500GB hard disk; 2 x USB; 802.11abg + draft-n; Ethernet; HDMI, component, composite video out; RCA, coaxial/optical S/PDIF audio out; 432 x 254 x 51mm (WDH)

Netgear's latest isn't the prettiest media streamer around, but at $602 you'd hope for a comprehensive feature set.
The EVA9150 doesn't disappoint. It comes with a 500GB internal hard drive and boasts lots of video outputs.

There's 1080p-capable HDMI and component outputs for HDTV owners, plus RGB scart, S-Video and composite sockets. Audio outputs are equally all-encompassing, with stereo RCAs alongside both optical and coaxial S/PDIF sockets, ready for connection to home theatre receivers.

Getting the EVA9150 up and running is straightforward. It can connect to your home network via the built-in wireless - it supports dual-band 802.11abg + draft-n - or via wired Ethernet.

Then it's simply a case of installing the supplied software on a PC and setting up shares, or scanning your network for UPnP shares on the device itself. Set about using the EVA9150, though, and the experience is a mixed one.

The user interface looks decidedly naff, and particularly so compared to the slicker efforts of Western Digital's WD TV.

We found the cluttered remote control fiddly to use, and didn't appreciate the need to manually rescan for new files in network shares. You can set up a daily scan, but that's the only concession to automation.

Format support is about as wide-ranging as it gets, however, and our clutch of test files all played without a hitch. The EVA9150 does a good job with audio too, and of its vast array of supported formats, OGG Vorbis is the only major omission.

The ability to browse web services such as YouTube and Flickr from the comfort of your sofa is a novel one, but unlike rival devices the Netgear requires your host PC to be switched on while you do it.

This takes some shine off the convenience. Beset on all sides by talented rivals, the EVA9150's clunky user interface, awkward streaming and hefty asking price limit what might have been a more appealing media streaming box.

If money is truly no object, then the Wyplayer trumps the Netgear in every department.

This Review appeared in the December, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

See more about:  netgear  |  digital  |  entertainer  |  elite  |  eva9150  |  media  |  streamer  |  network

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