Netgear Preps (Another) Media Streaming Box

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2011 — 18 Comments

netgear-neo-tv-200

Netgear keeps cranking out digital media streaming boxes despite their ongoing lukewarm reception in this space and presumably weak sales. Let’s see… since 2004 or so they’ve developed their own platforms (a few times), acquired a digital media company, dabbled in VuNow/Verismo, and even launched then euthanized a Roku relationship/box in the very same year (2010). They’re nothing if not persistent. And now Netgear intends to expand their NeoTV line.

Thanks to Netgear’s new FCC filing, it looks like a smaller NeoTV 200 is nearly upon us. Given the market and NTV200  device specs, it’s probably safe to assume the box is designed to take on Roku or AppleTV head on by providing various Internet streaming services. In fact, both Netflix and Pandora are mentioned in the user manual. However, while the small box does away with the USB, SD, and eSATA ports of its larger brethren, the NeoTV 200 could still could provide local media capabilities via DLNA – à la WDTV Live Plus. The seemingly requisite virtual WiFi remote control apps will be made available to iPhone and Android handsets.

All we need now is a date and price. And perhaps a rundown of all available apps.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

18 responses to Netgear Preps (Another) Media Streaming Box

  1. By the way, the remote ergonomics look good but I’m not at all in favor of using anything other than a AA or AAA batteries – whereas this one uses two of those disc shaped batteries. Fortunately, it should last awhile. But replacing them isn’t always efficient or inexpensive. As far as pricing, I’d figure $79 – $99 range is the only place they could offer it.

  2. Please enter me in the drawing to win a coupon code for a free unannounced Netgear Media Streaming Box.

  3. “By the way, the remote ergonomics look good”

    The remote does indeed look better than the Roku remote.

    But hand feel can dramatically differ from a single one dimensional look at the button placements.

    “I’m not at all in favor of using anything other than a AA or AAA batteries – whereas this one uses two of those disc shaped batteries”

    See, that makes me worry that they’re going to make the remote too flat for good hand feel.

    And as a general rule, it is true that watch batteries suck for remotes.

  4. Just what we need, another inexpensive box that offers some – limited – number of apps/channels and some form – generally limited – of local streaming. Wake me when there is one device that offers all the must have apps/channels (i.e. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Vudu, NBA, NHL, MLB, ESPN3, Pandora, etc.), multiple local media (i.e. USB, SD, etc.) options and robust local streaming capabilities. All of these various apps, channels, capabilities exist. Why has it proven so difficult to get them on one device?

    And by the way, I – and I assume a lot of other people – would be willing to pay more than $99, which seems to have become some magical price point, for such a device.

  5. Adding to @jcm’s comments, add a powerful search/recommendation/queue/playlist engine, and yes, I too would pay more than $99.

  6. George -

    Would love to see one of these devices/platforms make smart use of Fanhattan. I have been using the app on my iPad and it is very well done. I can envision this app/channel on a device like the Roku players, whereby it let’s you know which channels (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc.) offer the queried content – along with other information such as reviews, cast & crew, video clips, soundtrack – and send you directly to that channel once the content is selected.

  7. Well I’d make one more of my pointlessly long posts, but jcm already made most of my points. I just want one box that has Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus AND will stream media from my computer in a variety of formats that include MKV and AVI. Roku does all of that EXCEPT that it only supports media on a plugged in USB thumb drive AND its super slow and not so good at fast-forward and rewind. By not so good I mean you don’t get to see anything at all, not even an occasional thumbnail. Like VHS basically.

  8. The CR2032 lithium batteries are very inexpensive. My Boxee Box remotes use them as well as some of my alarm system components. I bought a pack of 25 from amazon this Spring for under $5.

  9. “I just want one box that has Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus AND will stream media from my computer in a variety of formats that include MKV and AVI. Roku does all of that EXCEPT that it only supports media on a plugged in USB thumb drive AND its super slow and not so good at fast-forward and rewind.”

    Well, a Roku 1 and a Plex media server seems as if it would’ve fit your requirements quite nicely.

    LAN playback is never going to get properly integrated into the cheap gizmo boxes since it’s pretty damn complicated to get right, relies on an infinite variety of local setups to support, and needs user management. Having a LAN Plex server actually handles the pertinent issues with grace and ease, but then you need a Roku client, and the Roku 2 isn’t running the Plex app, last I heard.

  10. aaron, thanks for the clarification. Maybe I was getting them mixed up with the $14 batteries required for the Vue video camera we took a look at.

    Glenn, Chucky, I’d say the WDTV Live Plus is worth a look… No Amazon, but it’s fairly well rounded. Certainly more so than Roku, in terms of local streaming.

    jcm, yeah we need more content discovery tools and more unified search. Oh TiVo, why do you tease us with all you could have been…

  11. “I’d say the WDTV Live Plus is worth a look … Certainly more so than Roku, in terms of local streaming.”

    But that’s the thing. If you’re into local caching and streaming, there is nothing else even in the vague ballpark of Plex Media Server.

    The only problem is that you need a client. The Mac Mini is a bit pricey for the lone task, though that’s what I happily use. Roku 1 reportedly pulled it off a nice client, though it ain’t functional in Roku 2. And theoretically LG TV’s will start bundling in the client, though I strongly prefer dumb-flat panels and smart inputs.

    If you’re DIY-ing LAN playback, Plex Media Server just really is in a class of its own in terms of features and usability.

  12. Chucky,

    Well I’ve got a Roku pre-2, meaning a few months old. Hooked up with component too. Can I get Plex on that? Does the server side cost money? Is it going to overburden my desktop already running iTunes, TTG, Air Video, Subsonic, Dropbox, Carbonite…

  13. Looks like Yes, No, and I’ll have to see. Thanks Chucky.

  14. “Well I’ve got a Roku pre-2, meaning a few months old … Can I get Plex on that?”

    So the reports say, but I’ve never personally used a Roku.

    “Does the server side cost money?”

    The software is free. You need a Windows or OS X box to run it on, which isn’t free.

    “Is it going to overburden my desktop already running iTunes, TTG, Air Video, Subsonic, Dropbox, Carbonite…”

    The Plex Media Server takes up no CPU and little RAM when you’re not streaming from it. When you are streaming from it, it starts using resources. So it will depend on your personal situation.

  15. “Looks like Yes, No, and I’ll have to see. Thanks Chucky.”

    Hell, I don’t need to answer the questions if you’re going to beat me to the punch…

  16. Fanhattan seems to be a step in the right direction, although for my taste, there seems to be -too- much extra stuff, like buying movie-fan-gear, actor-integration. I also don’t see any sort of Netflix-style recommendation engine. And of course, needs to run on more than an iPad.

    Browser-based, I like Whichflicks that incorporates NetFlix and Amazon. But no recommendation engine, nor integration of some of the other leading content suppliers.

    Chucky wrote about local serving: since it’s pretty damn complicated to get right. It can’t be that hard. Even TiVo sort of did it with TiVo Desktop. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Define 2-3 formats and parameters that you’ll support, and I’ll set Handbrake to work to conform to you.

    And, as odd as it may sound, I would want a robust search engine to include local RedBox inventory.

  17. Geez, not another box. I mean, isn’t it pretty clear that right now that market is ruled by a triumvirate of independents (Roku, Boxee, WD) and AppleTV.

    My consumption is geared more to local content and the services I use most are Vudu and Netflix, so I use Boxee Box. It’s missing official support for Amazon and Hulu+ isn’t done yet, but it works for me.

    I’m also very intrigued by Boxee’s iPad app, especially its ability to stream local videos to iPad. Right now, it’s done through a Boxee application (Win or Mac) that does on-the-fly transcoding, but they are talking about allowing streaming directly from the Boxee Box. If that happens, it’d be pretty great as it means a computer doesn’t need to be on to do transcoding.

  18. “Chucky wrote about local serving: since it’s pretty damn complicated to get right. It can’t be that hard. Even TiVo sort of did it with TiVo Desktop. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Define 2-3 formats and parameters that you’ll support, and I’ll set Handbrake to work to conform to you.”

    Sure. It’s not like sending a man to the moon to “sort of do it” without a LAN server. But it’s really hard to accommodate the infinite variety of stuff folks will want to bring, and the ways they’ll want to bring it in gizmo boxes like this. You’re seemingly willing to re-compress everything to fit a particular device’s limited specs, but I wouldn’t want to do that, for example.

    At the end of the day, you want gizmo box makers to spend development resources going after the small part of the market for LAN video with solutions that will appeal to a small part of that small market. If I were in charge of a company making gizmo boxes, I’d focus on WAN streaming instead. And as an afterthought, I’d support something like a Plex client to grab sales from the LAN niche at little development cost to my company.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>