Another day, another media streamer. True, the concept isn't a bad one - video content is best enjoyed on a big telly in the comfort of your lounge, rather than hunched up in front of a computer screen. But with numerous offerings on the market, there's little to tell them apart. Netgear's Digital Entertainer EVA700, however, …
Re Netgear EVA700
I can agree with you on the merits of the EVA700 - once set up it works nearly without a glitch (seems like the continent is a little favoured; I got my box slightly before Christmas, so I knew what you were writing about).
Two things, however, I find worth mentioning in addition:
1. Wireless setup is a pain in the bum, especially when you have to put in your WEP/WPA key via the Netgear remote into the respective field - and if you sport WPA encryption matters are made worse by a firmware bug (netgear knows about this; a worklaround can be found on Netgear's US EVA700 website.
2. The firmware by and large is not quite where it should be: Sometimes the movie starts to stutter without any reason; you can either end it or try to stop and restart it by using the "Play/Pause" key, thus running the chance that audio and video start to run asynchronous. So, as with all IT equipment, a reboot is the best way to go, which can only be done by pulling the power cord.
One other thing: Windows Media Connect runs only under Windows XP/SP2. So you're basically screwed if the OS of your choice differs from the above, as in my case. However, a little research on the Net quickly shows that about all UPnP media servers run with the EVA700, including (but not limited to) Nero MediaHome (I tested V.6 and 7), Twonkyvision (Twonkymedia), On2Share Pro and wizd.
Just my two cents.
Best regards, Wolfram
You mention it seeks out shared files on windows machines but I didn't see any mention of macs in there? Does that mean not tested, or not compatible?
Wow - about 2 years to late
This device offers nothing over the Pinnacle Showcentre 200 which was available 2 years ago. If it was able to decode the H.264 HD codec or MKV files then maybe it would be of interest. But as it is it's just plain out of date and as mentioned vastly overprice (Showcentres if you can find them are around £80)
The reason for the "pillarbox" effect you see is that Microsoft's WMV-HD when at 1080i is actually using a 1440x1080 frame size with anamorphic pixels (the same way 1080i HDV works).
It's a pain, but you'd have thought that it would be able to scale and ratio correct for such a standard...
Mpeg4 is a generic term...
i really wish when salesmen and tech sites/reviewers say things like "It can also turn its hand to WMV and MPEG 1, 2 and 4 formats." they made it perfectly clear that Mpeg4 is a generic term that infact covers far more than mear divX/Xvid video.
the truth is, it seems intentional to keep using this Mpeg4 general term so as to cover up the fact that AVC En/Decoding is not included in these new devices.
to be clear (as i hope theReg will be from now on) for video, Mpeg4 covers both the OLD Mpeg4-*ASP* (aka divx/Xvid *Part 2*)
and the far newer and better Mpeg4-*AVC* (aka H.264 _Part 10_)
heres a link to make it clearer as to why AVC is better, its got a lossless mode that ASP does not.
just add the old ASP or the new AVC to your text then at least people might start asking the right questions when they come to buy these bits of kit and perhaps even force the salesmen and HW/SW developers to finally put a simple and cheap FPGA thats able to decode AVC content.
and, have the ability to easy re-program it if a new codec is required for the end users use later.
KiloCORE FPGA's seem like a good and cheap investment for the devs and users alike for the future...
Two things I forgot to post
1. The firmware has an option which lets you choose between subtitles in German, English and French or switch them off completely. That contradicts the fact that when using DivX/XviD movies you principally should be able to choose from all the languages that the sub/idx files include. There is no indication whatsoever in the manual or anywhere else what types of subs are being supported, what file formats or why just these three languages are mentioned.So this makes no sense at all to me. Consequently I have not been able to see any subs so far.
2. Multiple audio tracks: The EVA always chooses the first audio track, no matter what. There is no menu to choose between different tracks. If the first audio track is in a language that you do not speak, currently there is no other option than to demux the movie and remux it only with the language track of your choice.
The Netgear support currently is mute on both issues.
Re the Mac question - I am not a Mac user, so I can only pin the problem down: The EVA afaik works with all UPnP media servers, so the Twonkyvision media server (30 day trial here: http://www.twonkyvision.de/Download/TwonkyMedia/index.html) should be fine for you too. Netgear themselves only point in the direction of Windows Media Connect (which I think is actually a pretty shitty program) and XP/SP2 or MS-MCE.
Good alternative DVR
Good article on the new Netgear entry to the still immature digital media receiver market, it very tough to pick between devices.
I just wanted to let you know about a good DMR I purchased 4 months ago, it's a Phillips SLM 5500, which does HD support over component (no HDMI unfortunetly) and similary to the netgear only does 720p and 1080i but it's a very good device, the remote is consumer friendly as per your comments on the netgear and I have not had a file as yet which it will not play.
It is Windows Media Connect compatible, but I find the bundled "Phillips Media Manager" software much better.
I do hope this market matures as i really do make good use of mine, no more plugging my Ipod into my stereo; just listen to music straight off my laptop, I also have a Maxtor MSS II NAS which is uPnP compatible so I when I'm using my laptop other people can still watch\listen to media, it just lacks the config options of the Media Manager software.
Best Regards, Chris Handley