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Netgear EVA2000 Digital Entertainer Live review

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Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

There's a veritable cornucopia of streaming video players available. While you might think that's great for us consumers, it does make it difficult to decide just which you should pick - especially as there's little that manufacturers can do to differentiate their products.

This puts Netgear's Digital Entertainer Live (or EVA2000 if you prefer product numbers) in a slightly tricky position. At a touch under £100 it costs notably more than the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 and Western Digital WD TV but unlike those devices, it will barely even play 720p content (MPEG-2 is the only codec the player will decode at that resolution), let alone 1080p videos. That said, the player will up-scale the SD content it can play to 720p, and output it over HDMI, and it will play a huge variety of file formats in just about every container you could think of. But don't take my word for it, here's a list:

Video:

Codecs: WMV 7/8/9, VC1, VP6, H.263, H.264, MPEG 1/2/4

Containers: AVI, DivX 4.x, DivX 5.x, Xvid, MOV, MP4, MPEG2-PS, MPEG2-TS, DVD VOB, FLV, Matroska (MKV), ASF

Audio: MP2, MP3, WMA, AAC, WMA Pro, WMA Lossless, WAV, LPCM, Vorbis, AC3, M4A, Dolby Digital

Photo: JPEG

Arguably that's more support than needed. After all, when was the last time you acquired a standard definition MKV file? Considering how much content many of us have in standard def, it's not necessarily a deal breaker that HD playback isn't on the Digital Entertainer Live's agenda. Especially if you have a 720p (or 1080i for that matter) television, which then won't be up-scaling the player's already up-scaled output.

There is one other potential saving grace, in the form of a plethora of Internet-based video services. In addition to YouTube, which is becoming standard fare, the Digital Entertainer Live gives access to TV channels streamed from the 'net and the BBC iPlayer. While the former may be a little redundant - why stream TV channels to a TV? - the latter is decidedly useful. The only problem is that the service that enables these features, PlayOn, is a free trial so you'll have to stump up for a licence once that expires.

Simon

October 21, 2009, 7:04 pm

Why can't someone make one of these with freeview built in?

MSIC

October 21, 2009, 8:01 pm

Did anyone notice that the remote control is a duplicate of the WD device? Not similar, but actually the same.


Anyway TR, when are you going to get around to announcing the new WD mark 2 - it's surely the device that we all want!

Misha

October 21, 2009, 11:42 pm

Could you please explain how can you compare this player to Western Digital WD TV which does not have any network support?

MSIC

October 22, 2009, 2:00 am

Easy - they are both media players, and the WD Mk 2 does have network support :)

Pbryanw

October 22, 2009, 6:21 am

I hope TR get around to reviewing the WDTV Live - one of the many competitors to the Netgear Digital Entertainer.





I received my WD TV Live last Tuesday and have been very impressed with it. Slick interface, dealt with all the video formats I threw at it, and no problems streaming HD over my powerline network. A good buy.

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