Stream media to your TV in HD

Like many TV junkies with way too much media stored on my computer, I'm waiting to see if Apple TV will do for TV what the iPod did for music. But in much the same way that hardcore digiterati prefer more feature-laden (though less slick) digital audio players to the iPod, there might be more interest in some quarters for Netgear's EVA8000, aka the Digital Entertainer HD.

Connecting to your home network via Ethernet or 802.11g, the Digital Entertainer HD can stream audio (MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC) and video (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, WMV, XviD), including DRMed Windows Media and iTunes content. A nice plus: the Digital Entertainer HD earns its suffix by being able to play back high-definition video at up to 1080p through its HDMI port.

Like the Apple TV, the appeal lies in being able to use the media stored on the computer without actually being in front of the computer -- but the Digital Entertainer HD takes things a step further by being able to remotely access a PC's installed TV tuner card for PVR functions. I also like the idea of functions that take advantage of multiple devices, like "Follow Me" (where you can pause a video in one room and continue it in another) and "Party Mode" (where music playback is synchronized over different units).

What I'm most curious to see is how easy it will be to set up and use -- which is, of course, where Apple is king. I doubt that Netgear will be able to give Apple a run for their money, but if they pull things together right, they'll be able to carve a respectable niche for themselves.

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Emru Townsend

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