back to article Netgear EVA8000 network media player

The EVA8000 was a high-end product when it was announced, bundling HDMI with 1080P HD playback. But the video encoding world moves quickly. It may have been suitable when HD standards were emerging, but a few months later the situation looks decidedly different. H.264 has emerged as the HD codec of choice, although you'll also …

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Works well

I bought one of these a couple of months ago as I have a large collection of video files on my computer from my student days. The device is excellent bar the UI flaws mentioned in the article. With it upscaling to a 1080i signal to my TV, HD captures of Lost and similar look fantastic. I also managed to get it to stream video across my 802.11g network with very few problems: only twice did I have issues, and only one of those times was it unrecoverable.

Overall, I'm very happy with the product, and would recommend it.

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Nice comprehensive review

Good review, nice to find out testing so many formats, especially good to see .ts in there, as I run a linux based media centre that records mpeg transport streams from freeview straight to disk.

It is hard work finding a review that shows it will play back those files :)

I am really keen on getting one of these media playback devices to playback my DVD's and mpeg-2 transport stream files stored on my media server (along with photos and mp3's).

Any chance of a comparison review of the top contenders? Also a review on the Freecom Media Player 350, which I know has some issues atm, and would love to see this level of review. If it actually works the Freecom product would be great.

http://www.freecom.com/ecproduct_detail.asp?ID=3406&CatID=8060&sCatID=1147073&ssCatID=1147073

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eva8000

Latest firmware version is 2.0.151 (Updated 12/31/2007)

Bricked my first eva8000 with a much earlier beta of the firmware last summer (amazon replaced that within 24 hrs - was impressed) but the newer versions of the firmware are a lot better, and include a much improved UI as well.

Still some minor quirks to be ironed out, but they are active on the support forums and have included a fair few of the users feature requests.

1080p mkv plays fine for me with the latest firmware over wired lan.

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Anonymous Coward

My ultimate media player solution was....

10m of VGA cable. I gave up trying to find a good solution for this and ran a cable to the TV's VGA and Audio connectors, playing the media straight from the PC, directly to the television.

A VGA switcher box switches between the PC's monitor and the TV and the keyboard and mouse were replaced with a bluetooth all in one compact unit that can be taken anywhere within 10m and still work.

I would have used the DVI digital in, but the website selling cables advising runs of less than 5m for DVI cables.

Not the worlds most elegant solution, but after trying several of these media shifter boxes I had enough.

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bitrate

Is it down to the physical memory and buffer size, or is it down to the network throughput just not being high enough?

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Unhappy

Firmware updates? Dream on......

The chances of Netgear issuing further firmware updates is remote. I own the EVA700 and we had one official release of the firmware but that fixed none of the issues the unit had and quickly disappeared.

I for one won't be buying any more Netgear gear. They seem to ship the stuff out the door and never listen to their customers. Frequent requests for them to fix issues or at least give us a clue whether a new firmware would be released were left unanswered, even on their own forums.

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Pricey!

You'd be better throwing another few quid down and getting a PS3, and install the FREE TVersity program on your comp. Makes a wonderful media server, and can handle the high bit rate files no problem.

Does exactly the same, with less hassle as you can share specific folders which are automatically updated.

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Archaic Connectivity

The review didn't mention that the unit provides an archaic 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port. Personally I would have expected a unit for HD content to have a 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet port. eSATA 3Gb/s connectivity would be nice too.

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Connectivity

They're working on an 802.11n draft wireless add on upgrade too....

There is no need for anything more than 100Mbps network... it's a media streaming device and for the forseeable future there is no media available that requires more than 100Mb, so why fit a more expensive 1000Mb NIC when it's totally not required?

My unit plays 1080p MKV files over the wired LAN without issue too, the standard firmware is flaky to say the least, but get the Beta ones (which won't ruin your warranty) and it's a much improved device.

It's a much, much better device than a PS3 as it's designed as a media server and not a games console (i have access to both) and can handle MKV etc, it also allows DTS/Dolby Digital pass through etc which i don't believe the PS3 can at the moment?

With regard to the media indexing, it can be a bit of a pain if you have just downloaded a file and have to watch it at that time.... i tend to copy the file to a USB flash drive and plug that in, that then takes less than a minute to scan and index... otherwise i copy the files to my NAS and set the system to reindex overnight, thus it's very rarely out of date.

From trying many of these devices in various places, it was the best i can find and it has a very active support forum and upgrade/update process, which few of the other systems do.

I highly recommend it!

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Hope it's got a better interface than the EVA700

Last may I bought the little sister to the EVA8000, the EVA700. After a few days I sent it back and got my money back because of the most appalling UI. Oh and the Wi-fi didn't work either.

The MCE market is maturing, slowly but after my bad experiences with EVA I'm not rushing in again in a hurry.

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Interface

The screenshots in the article are from the unit... i've not used the 7000 but have few issues with the 8000 - a page down button may be handy as some menus can take time to scroll all the way through, but my Logitech Harmony remote adds that feature for me anyway, so no issue!

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RE: page down

Scott there is a page down button, instead of using the up and down arrows if you use the ones to the right of them, cant remember off hand now but it definately works!

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