NETGEAR NEOTV 550
Netgear, $299.95 netgear.com.au
NETGEAR’S NeoTV 550 is an exciting proposition for someone who uses an Xbox 360 as a media player. Despite its virtues and many features, the Xbox does not have a web browser. That means no ABC iView, no YouTube and nothing outside the Microsoft ecosystem, though that does include Zune movies and Foxtel channels. Will Netgear’s offering plug that gap? No. Frustration began soon after opening the box. Netgear boss Patrick Lo recently told Australian journalists that electrical retailers needed to be re-educated about where to put networking devices. He says they should no longer be in the computer domain, but right next to the TVs so users will have all the connectivity they need before leaving the store.
So why not put a HDMI cable in the NeoTV’s box? It would stop users running back to the store. And the frustration didn’t stop there. Netgear is one of the biggest networking specialists in the world, but the NeoTV does not have wi-fi — only ethernet connectivity.
The NeoTV box itself is solidly built and its SD slot and USB port make it a nice reader for a TV.
There is plenty of TV-related goodness inside too, including DTS surround-sound support.
The interface is simple to use and the remote makes a refreshing change to a video game controller. But without great TVfriendly content such as movies and TV shows not available in Australia, the box doesn’t do anything the Xbox cannot.
In fact, the PlayStation 3 seems like an even better alternative in the Australian market for those wanting digital streaming services for their TV.
If, and it’s a big if, services such as iTunes, Sony and Zune open to the broader market, generic devices such as the NeoTV might work. JOSHUA GRECH