- In what is likely to be the first of many new products at the show aimed at connecting home media products, the company introduced the Digital Entertainer HD, a home media receiver with HDMI out that ties together televisions with multiple sources of media, including personal computers. The device allows you to view HD movies, listen to iTunes music, watch YouTube videos (via a Net-connected PC) and to use DVR functions, assuming you have a PC with a TV card. You can also route media around the house. It ships in the first quarter at $349. You can access media via a menu system with a remote control. (Purchased songs must be on a Windows PC - not Macs.) You can stream content via powerlines or wirelessly; if you want to stream HD, you want to use power lines, not wireless.
The streaming of YouTube content to TV screens is interesting, since YouTube videos are widely considered to be too low resolution for watching on large screens; but they actually showed one - a Mentos-and-soda explosion video - and it looks fine.
- It’s also launching a new dual mode cordless phone with support for Skype. At $199, available today.
- It also introduced a device called the Storage Central Turbo, which helps you route information around to various storage devices in the home.
The company did not announce anything about their relationship with YouTube or whether they have or require any agreement to stream YouTube content. In fact, they specifically said that they were not making any announcements about their relationship with YouTube; not sure what that means.
A couple of other things about the Digital Entertainer product after talking to NetGear execs. One, the lack of Mac support will bother some iTunes users, no doubt. Also interesting that they won’t talk about any relationship with YouTube; at this point they do not support other streaming video sites. Access to the YouTube content is via a remote-control driven menu. The service also hooks to Internet radio services, including Shoutcast and Radio IO; they both apparently have open systems and there isn’t any reason NetGear should need to partner. The device also supports RSS feeds, and has some news feeds from Yahoo pre-loaded. They declined to compare the device to the Apple iTV, which should be discussed at Macworld on Tuesday.
NTGR 1-yr chart: