Updated: March 15, 2013
Netgear EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD
Wireless Media Player
Wireless Home Entertainment Systems Reviews
Like the Apple TV, the Netgear Digital Entertainer HD was released 2007. In the process, it proved to be the wireless media player of choice among those who did not like the Apple TV but still wanted to play protected iTunes content.
But there is a lot more to the Netgear EVA8000. Despite the lack of a built-in hard drive as found on the Apple TV, it still comes with an extensive feature set and superior connectivity that supports standard TVs in addition to HDTVs. And the latest reduced price makes this Netgear media player a more compelling buy.
Editor's Update December 2012: For information on the latest wireless media players, please refer to our Wireless Media Players Review page.
Netgear EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD
More than just playing protected iTunes Songs
The NETGEAR EVA8000 wireless digital media player is capable of supporting a most extensive range of digital media formats to stream movies, videos, music, internet radio, and photos, from your computer and other storage devices, to display it in its full glory on your big screen HDTV set. Moreover, it can also stream YouTube and BitTorrent videos and Flickr photos as well.
Unlike the Apple TV - which can only handle HD up to 720p, the Netgear can display HD media content up to 1080p.
Packaging and installation
At 1.5 by 10 by 17 inches, the NETGEAR EVA8000 wireless digital media player can sit atop your home theater gear. True that it is not as compact as the Apple TV, but aesthetically, it can easily blend with the rest of your equipment.
You would need to install the accompanying NETGEAR software on your PC to get things working, but once done, setting up of the EVA8000 is easy thanks to a functional and intuitive on-screen interface.
Connectivity on the NETGEAR EVA8000 Entertainer HD covers just about everything. Video connections cover HDMI and component video for HD TV sets, and S-video and composite video for connecting to old standard definition TVs. For audio, you have a choice of both optical and coaxial digital outputs, as well as standard analog stereo RCA jacks.
To top up the connectivity list, there are an Ethernet jack, a USB2.0 and a SCART port on the rear panel; a USB2.0 and a headphone jack are also available on the front of the unit.
The two built-in USB 2.0 ports give you the possibility to plug whatever you want on the front while using the one on the back panel to connect a USB2.0 mass storage device. The latter is important as it gives you the possibility to stream content without being bound to have your PC turned on.
Wireless connectivity is via the 802.11g standard, which means that you should avoid streaming HD content via a double hoop connection over your network.
A double-hoop may occur say when streaming content from a wireless network connected laptop to your wirelessly connected NETGEAR EVA8000 wireless digital media player. For more info on this issue, please refer to our Guide to Wireless Media Players.
A possible alternative to streaming content wirelessly without being tied to Cat5e cabling is to use one of the many powerline Ethernet kits. These transform your house internal power wiring into a data network at speeds greater than the 54Mbps supported by the 802.11g standard.
Digital Media Support
As stated earlier on, file support is extensive and includes MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC (unprotected), and FLAC for audio, MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4, AVI, WMV, and XVID for video, and JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF for photos.
Note that playback of Windows Media DRM (WMDRM10) protected downloaded content purchased from major online services requires Windows Media Connect (WMC) server software, available from Microsoft.
The bottom line
The NETGEAR EVA8000 wireless digital media player is surely one of the most versatile digital media receivers presently available with an extensive array of features that should surely delight the tech-savvy user. It is true this digital media player is being superseded by an equally valid successor, but it still represents a valid option in wireless home entertainment at a not so expensive price tag.
For the latest manufacturer firmware updates and product downloads, please follow this link: Netgear EVA8000 Downloads