Netgear Takes On Roku With NeoTV

Dave Zatz —  September 14, 2011 — 14 Comments

Former Roku licensee Netgear is now taking them and Apple TV on as they go solo with their latest digital media streamer. The new NeoTV 200, which we first learned of last month, “turns your TV into a Smart TV” for all of 80 bucks. Like Roku, the requisite Netflix app is present, but Netgear appears to have slightly better hardware specs for the money (when it comes to networking and audio output)… along with a YouTube app and Vudu video ondemand. Further, free Android and iPhone smartphone remote control apps will be made available. Yet like the Roku, there appears to be a de-emphasis on local media playback.While there’s no USB port, Netgear could conceivably provide LAN playback capabilities via DLNA or similar. Interestingly, from the promotional video above, there looks to be a Showtime app headed to these over-the-to platforms… finally! Amazon’s got the NeoTV 200 shipping on October 10th, so it won’t be long now.

14 responses to Netgear Takes On Roku With NeoTV

  1. While improved specs and the inclusion of Vudu are interesting, I don’t think it is nearly enough to compete with Apple’s name recognition (and decent content selection) and Roku’s established foothold and what appears to be very similar (Netflix, Pandora, Revision3, TED, etc.) sans Vudu. Nope, at the end of the day, what is really going to separate one of these inexpensive, small footprint devices from the pack is the ability to bring together all of the movie channels/apps they all basically offer now, the current major sports (NBA League Pass, MLB.TV and NHL GameCenter) that most offer in varying degrees and the two big fish of streaming sports, ESPN3 (exclusive to Xbox right now) and the NFL Sunday Ticket (exclusive to PS3 right now). My guess is that three months from now there will be very little chatter about this device.

  2. i feel that everyone would scramble to scoop up one of these if they could play media from their local network (or a USB device), right? Isn’t that what is going to be the killer feature for these things? I have two Rokus, and love them both. We cuddle at night. Really. But I prefer the little fanless PC connected to my TV, solely because I can stream my own media over the LAN.

  3. jcm, I’d say Netgear has more name recognition and broader retail backing than Roku. However, they traditionally compete in commodities and I agree they may not successfully market this solution. Sony’s little streamers are baffling too. You’d expect more noise from these companies. If Showtime is headed to Netgear, we can assume its also headed to other platforms. Same with the sports leagues. Although DirecTV is mostly keeping the NFL locked up – will be interesting to see if their agreement allows NFL to provide additional online access. While there’s room for more than one player (and one than one hardware form), Apple could have pretty much won the battle by releasing a full-on aTV app store. But right now they’re still individually working deals. We shall see.

    Gana, have you checked out Boxee or WDTV? They provide much better support for local playback.

  4. “Gana, have you checked out Boxee or WDTV? They provide much better support for local playback.”

    Well, if he already has a general purpose computer hooked up to his TV, I’d say he’s already solved that problem.

    And if not, as always, the now discontinued Gen 1 Roku with its Plex client is really the proper way to go.

    —–

    BTW, did we ever figure out if the NeoTV has dual-band WiFi or not? 5ghz or bust on video streaming…

  5. Chucky, Roku released a software update for the latest generation players last week which theoretically corrects the HLS issues and enables Plex streaming. But I can’t confirm it (as I returned the buggy Roku XS 2 prior to all these updates rolling out given their lack of communication on the matter). BUT with my new iMac running 24/7 (well it actually sleeps midnight to 6AM) I plan to finally test Plex on my older and more reliable Roku XDR.

    As far as WiFi on this Netgear unit, they’re advertising 300Mbps wireless speeds… whatever that might mean.

  6. We Want Local/Network Media Playback! We Want Local/Network Media Playback! We Want Local/Network Media Playback! …. yeah somehow that’s way to long to be a good chant…. ;)

  7. Ok so lets we now have how many choices?

    Netgear NeoTV
    Apple TV
    Roku (various units)
    Boxee Box by D-Link
    Logitech Revue with Google TV
    Western Digital WD TV Live Hub
    Sony SMP-N200
    Others?

    Plus “smart” TVs, blu-ray players & DVRs
    Plus gaming consoles
    Plus HTPCs

    I guess if someone really can not get their living room connected to the Internet they are just not trying.

  8. Dave, agree that Netgear has greater name recognition and an established retail backing than Roku. However, Roku has been at this for a few years now and early adopter consumers are well aware of their products and a substantial number already own one or two, hence they have established a pretty good foothold in this particular niche. I don’t see anything so compelling in this Netgear box that will drive those who are fairly familiar with Roku players or AppleTVs to this particular box.

    Also agree that I have no idea why Sony hasn’t made more noise in this space. Perhaps they would if they were able to get that NFL Sunday Ticket on the new SMP-N200 like their big brother the PS3?

    You’re a man in the know, Dave. What happened to Iomega’s Boxee box?

  9. First, the early adopters aren’t enough to sustain a business – definitely have to expand to a wider audience. Fortunately, Roku has made inroads beyond the early adopters based on the forum chatter I monitor and numbers of units sold. In regards to the Iomega Boxee Box, I’m under the impression that it’s still under development. However, I’m more interested in a D-Link Boxee Box 2 with OTA tuner or maybe a USB tuner accessory… but Boxee’s PR guy never responds to any tuner/DVR inquiries. Hm. :) (Incidentally, I can’t get any OTA reception at my home.)

  10. Sounds like a great deal at $80. The Roku is $100 for the wired and wireless version. Although I don’t see Amazon listed on their application list. Or did I miss it?

  11. Meh. Another indistinguishable competitor. All those channels in the video look very impressive, but zoom in on them and most aren’t interesting, as you’d expect if you’ve been following this space at all.

    The Showtime app? We’ll see… there’s a showtime app on my iPhone and it isn’t worth anything since there are no full shows available. If its an HBO GO competitor, then it would be something interesting but I’ll wait until its available to judge.

    I too want local streaming. The Roku’s USB support isn’t doing it for me. Sneakernet and iffy MKV support mean it often doesn’t work. I guess I need to get a Boxee Box? But there’s only so many inputs on my TV, I mean seriously… The Tivo and Apple TV have earned their places on it. Might be time to use that VGA connector and just hook up a PC…

    Chucky, I tried using Plex and at least with my Windows 7 x64 machine (gobs of disk and memory, but running a lot of services) it was locking up my computer with regularity. Don’t have the time to dig into fixing it, since I rely on it being available for other things. So its uninstalled for now.

  12. “BUT with my new iMac running 24/7 (well it actually sleeps midnight to 6AM) I plan to finally test Plex on my older and more reliable Roku XDR.”

    And if you ever want to watch between midnight to 6AM, you can always just hit a key on the keyboard to bring the magic to life…

  13. “Chucky, I tried using Plex and at least with my Windows 7 x64 machine (gobs of disk and memory, but running a lot of services) it was locking up my computer with regularity. Don’t have the time to dig into fixing it”

    I don’t read the Windows forums, so I have zero idea how Plex Server works on the platform. If it’s truly unusable over there, and ins’t just some issue specific to your setup, that’d be a genuine drag, as I’m hoping to move from Cupertino’s platform to Redmond’s over time.

  14. Chucky, given I didn’t spend a lot of time digging into it I can’t say. As I say I do have a lot of on-all-the-time services running–Tivo To Go, iTunes (for the Apple TV to get music from), Air Video (which I use all the time on my iPhone when traveling), EyeFi, Carbonite, LogMeIn, DropBox, SpiderOak, DynDNS… so it wouldn’t be at all shocking if the problem was unique to my setup.

    I’m still trying to decide what to do, since watching Top Gear episodes in High Def (meaning MKV’s) is critical to me. I picked up a Roku thinking it would serve by transporting a Thumb Drive, but a) I don’t much like the sneakernet aspect, b) it has failed to work on a number of occasions. I may just hook up a Mac Mini, I might consider a Boxee or a WDTV or something else… not sure.

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