Despite your cramped A/V cabinet, the idea of another set-top never seems to lose luster—at least when it’s packing web capabilities.
Netgear announced two new Internet-enabled set-tops today. We had recently heard a few rumblings about the EVA9150; they also added the ITV2000.
“Internet video consumption is at an all-time high,” said Vivek Pathela, Netgear’s VP and general manager of home/consumer products. “Just in the month of October 2008 alone, comScore estimated that almost half of the total U.S. population viewed more than 13.5 billion online videos. That’s a large number of Internet videos that are viewed mostly on PCs, even though many people would rather watch them on their TVs.”
The ITV2000 is being billed as a “plug and go” device. The included remote allows users to access YouTube, web TV, VOD, and other online video all from the comfort of the couch. Some of the content will come from sites including BBC.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, EuroSport.com, NBC.com, PGATour, TMZ.com, and CinemaNow. The announcement said that the unit “unlocks the value of new HDTVs,” but doesn’t really explain how. It doesn’t appear to stream in HD, so what’s to unlock? Still, at the size of a deck of cards, it should be easy to stuff into your setup. The unit can connect to your home network, but doesn’t require a PC or software setup.
Kicking things up a notch is the EVA9150, also known as the Digital Entertainer Elite. Designed for “serious” enthusiasts, this unit does deliver the high-def—and can store it as well. Packing a 500GB hard drive (which is upgradeable), the unit promises Blu-ray-quality video, as well as digital photos, MP3s, and any recorded TV you have on your home network. Of course, it’s got the web stuff, too, as well as wireless 802.11n and plenty of ports (HDMI and USB) for your camera, iPod, or other storage device
Two other nifty features on the EVA9150: First, there’s a Party Mode for whole-house music. Even cooler is the Follow Me feature, which allows users to pause video in one room and continue it in another.
The ITV2000 will be available in early summer for $199. The EVA9150 is coming next month for $399.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.