Updated: March 15, 2013
Netgear EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite
Wireless Digital Media Player
Wireless Home Entertainment Systems Reviews
The Netgear EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite represents the latest that present-day wireless media player technology has to offer. It comes with a multitude of connectivity options, including HDMI and HD upconversion up to 1080p, simultaneous dual-band 802.11n technology, a user replaceable 500GB hard drive, and a never-ending list of supported media file formats.
Unfortunately, it falls short of partnerships with major digital media content providers but this in itself does not tarnish in any way the strength and versatility of this Netgear wireless digital media player. In addition, the latest PlayOn media server support means now you have got access to a whole new world of media content by streaming these services from your PC.
Editor's Update December 2012: For information on the latest wireless media players, please refer to our Wireless Media Players Review page.
Netgear EVA9150 digital media player
wireless home entertainment integration at your finger-tips!
The Netgear EAV9150 wireless digital media player is a follow-up to the popular NETGEAR EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD wireless digital media player released in 2007. At the time, the EVA8000 proved to be the wireless digital media player of choice for those who did not like the Apple TV players but still wanted to play iTunes purchased content. The EVA8000 was one of the few non-Apple media players that could play protected iTunes songs besides streaming online content like YouTube, BitTorrent videos, and Flickr photos as well.
But the success of the EVA8000 digital media player was not just because it could play iTunes songs. It also supported an extensive range of file formats - including high-definition media up to 1080p as well as Windows Media DRM (WMDRM10) protected downloaded content purchased from major online services through the use of Windows Media Connect (WMC) server software. All this was complemented by a functional and intuitive on-screen interface. Its only real drawback was that it was hampered by an 802.11g wireless connection which made playback of HD content often choppy in a typically congested wireless environment.
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The Netgear EVA9150 digital media player, termed ‘Netgear Digital Entertainer Elite EVA9150’, continues to build where the EVA8000 has left; it offers a few significant improvements over its extremely popular and equally functional predecessor.
Top in the list is a 500GB replaceable internal hard drive for storage of extra local content. This makes the new Netgear wireless digital media player one of the most powerful home jukeboxes presently available on the market, one that can serve not only to stream digital media content from a PC or the internet, but also as a store content on its own and. This internal hard disk is easily replace by the user with a larger capacity 3.5” SATA drive should the need arise – it is like replacing your PC hard disk. This contrasts heavily with the AppleTV and Xbox 360 which either cannot be upgraded or use a proprietary ‘expensive’ drive’.
The EVA9150 Netgear Digital Entertainer Elite also sports Draft N wireless connectivity (as opposed 802.11g interface in the EVA8000), which is more appropriate for streaming of HD content, thus making the EVA9150 more of a true wireless HD media streamer. Wired Ethernet however still remains at 100Mbps. An interesting feature associated with the Netgear wireless connectivity is dual band (2.4GHz and 5.8GHz) 802.11n support with speeds of up to 300Mbps.
Dual-band operation makes it possible for the Netgear Digital Entertainer Elite to achieve the best wireless performance by using up to 20 extra channels within the less crowded 5.8GHz band – assuming you have a dual-band router in the house - while avoiding the crowded 2.4GHz environment by neighborhood networks.
Additionally, wireless setup is as easy as the push of a button through the Push ‘N’ Connect feature to seamlessly setup a secure wireless connection based on Wi-Fi protected Set-up or WPS, thus eliminating the need to remember or input password keys.
With the new Netgear EVA9150, users can stream Blu-ray quality digital video up to 1080p on their HDTVs, as well as recorded television shows and other digital media content from their PCs or any other storage device present on their PCs. The Netgear Digital Entertainer Elite automatically finds all shared digital media files on the home network and organizes them into an easily accessible library.
Streaming of Internet content straight from the Internet is a bit limited to sources like YouTube, Internet radio, Flickr™, and other popular Internet media sites. However, last month, Netgear released a firmware upgrade that include support for the PlayOn media server.
The PlayOn feature means that once you install the PlayOn software on your Windows PC, the EVA9150 would give you instant access to a whole new world of Internet content on your TV - Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon VOD, and many others - by streaming these services straight from your PC. Not exactly the PC-less wireless digital media player some may dream of but the addition of the PlayOn feature do in effect give you access to a whole new world of content.
Media content format support on the Netgear EVA9150 is unmatched by any other wireless digital media player on the market. It covers basically all form of digital media content you can think of, from MP3, WMA8 and WMA9, WMV9 up to 1080p 40Mbps, MPEG1,2,4 SD and MPEG-2 HD, AVI, DivX, ISO, IFO, MKV (with AC3 only), TS, M2TS, internet radio streaming, AAC, FLAC, WMA-Pro, M4A, M4P, AC3, DTS Passthrough, PCM, LPCM, AIFF, to JPEG BMP, PNG, and TIFF files, as well as playlist formats WPL, ASX, WAX, WVX, PLS, M3U, RMP.
Connectivity on the NETGEAR EVA9150 covers about everything – from HDMI and component video for HDTV sets, to S-video and composite video for connection 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 is an Ethernet jack, two USB2.0 ports for iPod and USB mass storage devices – including an external USB2.0 hard drive, and a SCART.
The Netgear EVA9150 is unique in that it works simultaneously with multiple platforms – Windows, Mac, and Linux computers as well as Networked Attached Storage (NAS) devices.
Interesting features in the home entertainment arena associated with the Netgear EVA9150 includes the ‘Follow Me’ through which it is possible to pause a video in one room and resume it in another. Equally interesting is the ‘Party Mode,’ which makes it possible to synchronize music playback for whole-home listening.
And at a time when being green is so important, the new Netgear wireless digital media player includes environmentally friendly features such as energy-efficient power supply and auto-sleep mode.
The bottom line
At just over $200, the Netgear EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite is not one of the cheapest wireless digital media players, but it is surely one of the most versatile and powerful media players using the latest video, audio, and wireless technologies. It can play HD media content flawlessly thanks to its 40Mbps data rate.
It also supports a far broader range of media content platforms than the less expensive Apple TV. And unlike the Roku player, the Netgear EVA9150 will pull any imaginable digital content from your PC or in that case, anything accessible through your network.
Unfortunately, the Netgear wireless digital media player falls short of partnerships with major digital media content providers like Netflix and Amazon Video-on-Demand – though the addition of AirPlay support do provide users with a suitable way around that will still enable them to stream content from these services.
In conclusion, the Netgear EVA9150 media player is one of the most powerful and versatility wireless media players that has the potential to make total home entertainment integration a dream come true!
For the latest manufacturer firmware updates and product downloads, please follow this link: EVA9150 Downloads
Buying Options for Wireless Media Players
Amazon.com offers a complete range of wireless streaming boxes, often at reduced prices.