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Netgear NeoTV 550 review

Chris Finnamore
24 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
138
inc VAT

Apart from a fairly fiddly internet content browser, there’s not much wrong with the NeoTV 550. It’s not special enough to justify its premium price, though.

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Specifications

Netgear’s latest media streamer can play files from UpNP, DLNA and SMB shares, stream video from YouTube and access internet radio stations. If you don’t want to plug it into your network, it can also access media stored on a flash drive or SDHC card.

The NeoTV 550 is a simple black box, with a USB port and SDHC card slot on the front and a smattering of logos. Seeing as it’s likely to be sitting under your TV among a selection of sleek AV kit, it’s a shame Netgear didn’t make more of an effort with the 550’s looks. On the rear are HDMI and component outputs, an optical S/PDIF and a 3.5mm minijack socket for the included composite video and stereo phono cable. If you don’t want to put up with poor standard-definition composite connection video quality you’ll need to buy your own HDMI or component cable.

Netgear NeoTV 550 rear

There’s no built-in wireless, so you’ll need to use an Ethernet cable, HomePlug kit or Netgear’s own WNCE2001 wireless bridge to connect to your network. We’d recommend a wired Ethernet connection for streaming high-definition content. The 550 didn’t cope well with losing its network connection half-way through a film – it crashed, and we had to unplug it from the mains to reset it.

The included setup program makes installation easy. It searches your PC’s hard disk for available media files, shows you a list of locations where such files are present and lets you select which ones you want the 550 to monitor for content. You can also browse the folders you’ve shared from the 550’s menus.

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