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Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA 8000 review

Seth Barton
30 Jan 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
140
inc VAT

A box full of media tricks. An affordable and versatile media streamer.

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Specifications

We've seen the EVA 8000 before, but its price has fallen so sharply that more users will now be able to consider it.

Designed to sit under your television (although happily at home under any screen), it's basically a funnel through which all of your digital media can be streamed to your TV. It doesn't matter whether your movies, music or images are on a USB stick, which you can insert into the front; on your home network, which the EVA 8000 can access via both wireless and wired connections; or even on the Internet, since the unit can surf to YouTube all by itself. That's a lot of versatility.

And it works very well, too. The on-screen user interface occasionally suffers a little simply by offering so many options to scroll through, but it's nippy enough to ensure you won't take too long to get set up and start browsing content. That said, we did have to enter details of our WiFi network manually via the remote control, as the unit didn't pick it up automatically, which was a bit of a chore.

Once we'd done that, and run the supplied software on a PC to set up some shared media folders, it wasn't long before we were settling back to watch. The Netgear does support full 1080p HD video, and HDMI is one of its many outputs, so it'll connect easily to HD TV sets and the latest monitors. In reality, though, you'll only be able to play such high resolution material from a directly connected device; trying to stream that much data over today's wireless networks is not a winnable fight. With other material, in a wide assortment of file formats, we didn't have any problems.

The EVA 8000 can do more than display streamed media. If your PC has a TV tuner, you can use the Netgear to remotely schedule recordings, and if you set up more than one EVA 8000 in different rooms, the Follow Me feature will allow you, for instance, to hit Pause in one room and pick up from the same point in another. Anyone who's juggled dual cable boxes will appreciate this.

The 8000 is a lot cheaper than a media centre PC and does just about everything you could ask of it. Backed with regular, and useful, updates from its maker, this is an excellent media streamer.

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