Netgear NeoTV NTV200 Streaming Player

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
December 12, 2011
Manufacturer
Netgear
Product Page
NTV200
Views
95174
Netgear NeoTV NTV200 Streaming Player
The NeoTV NTV200 may lack some localing network features of competing units, but focusing on only internet streaming allows it to surpass other models in key areas.

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Page 1
Introduction

ASE Publishing has seen many different multimedia entertainment set top boxes from various companies. While most of them focus on doing everything to satisfy your media consumption needs, companies like Netgear are focusing solely on the streaming experience to set their product out from the rest. The NeoTV NTV200 may lack home network streaming, but focusing on internet streaming made the NeoTV experience have a quality we haven't seen before.

About Netgear

Quote

NETGEAR has been a worldwide provider of technologically advanced, branded networking products since 1996. Our mission is to be the preferred customer-driven provider of innovative networking solutions for small businesses and homes.

Efficiency, Innovation, Presence, Quality.

http://www.netgear.com/about/


Packaging

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The Netgear NeoTV has light colored packaging. It is white with blue accents and the box is fairly small as is the case with most streaming media players.

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The box contains the important info about the device. You don't see a bullet point for streaming content from a home network since this isn't the focus of the NTV200 model.

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Once inside the box, you have the packaging neatly inside to remove, layer by layer.
Page 2
Specifications

Package Contents
  • NeoTV™ Streaming Player (NTV200)
  • Remote control
  • Two (2) CR2032 coin batteries
  • Note: HDMI cable not included
  • Power adapter
  • Quick start guide

Features
  • Easy setup
  • Up to 1080p HD streaming
  • Built-in Wireless-N for extended-range (b/g/n compatible)
  • Ethernet port
  • HDMI video output
  • 5.1 surround sound

System Requirements
  • Broadband Internet connection
  • PC/tablet with Internet browser for service activation
  • TV with HDMI input and cable

Networking
  • Built-in Wi-Fi 300 Mbps (802.11 b/g/n)
  • 10/100 Ethernet (RJ-45)


Marketing Summary

Quote

Turn your TV into a Smart TV. Introducing NeoTV Streaming Player (NTV200) from NETGEAR. NeoTV Streaming Player turns your existing TV into a Smart TV, instantly streaming thousands of movies, the latest TV shows, music and song selections from every genre possible, the most-viewed videos, the hottest games, updated tech podcasts, and endless other entertainment options straight to the biggest screen in your home.

That's access to the best selection of streaming entertainment available - with more channels, apps, games and more being added constantly.

http://www.netgear.com/home/products/hometheater/media-players/NTV200.aspx


Package Contents

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Aside from some literature, you get the NTV200, a remote, and an AC adapter. You'll have to supply your own HDMI cable, but they are pretty cheap these days.

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The remote is pretty thin and light which is fine for a streaming player. Here you can see it in comparison to a standard size CD.

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The remote uses two CR2032 batteries (same as the CMOS batteries on motherboards). This seems to be a trend of not using AAA batteries for small remotes. While it allows them to be thinner, it also means battery replacement is more of a hassle. Do you have a spare CR2032 laying around?
Page 3
NeoTV NTV200

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The NeoTV is a small black box with a sunken Netgear logo on the top in a nice, glossy, finish. This is the type of finish that will show all the dust and fingerprints. It is a good thing that once it is installed, there is no more fiddling with it needed. The NeoTV's color and size should allow it to fit into most home entertainment center setups. There is no power button on the device. Don't lose the remote!

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The NeoTV has just enough ports to do the job. You have ethernet (wireless is included as well), HDMI, S/PDIF, and the power port. There is no component or any other connectivity, so if you don't have HDMI, this isn't the streaming player for you.

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The bottom of the NeoTV has four rubber feet to keep it from sliding around and there is a reset button located near the labeling in case the unit locks up. We didn't have to use it during test, but a power plug pull should do the same thing.

Installation

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We'll go through some basics of the unit in this text review, but check out the video review to see how the NeoTV works in practice. Once you turn on the NeoTV for the first time, a guided setup program will take you through the needed steps to get your system working.

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Since the NeoTV has an ethernet port, you can set the normal options such as a static IP and other settings that you may need. DHCP is selected as a default.

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If there is no wired ethernet connection detected, the NeoTV will attempt to use a wireless network. Since this is a Netgear product, care was given in the process of the network selection. You can select from the available networks in range.

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If you have a hidden network, you can also add that in as well. The NeoTV supports the latest 802.11n and 802.11i protocols. You'll have faster speeds and WPA2 support. If you have ethernet and have a line already there, it is a simple process of plugging in the wire.
Page 4
Interface

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The NeoTV has the nicest interface we have seen, by far. This is far more user friendly than competing units. You can clearly see a wide number of options on the screen and each option is well spaced to allow you to read them. One thing we aren't fond of is the advertising on the top of the screen from Vudu.

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The NeoTV only streams from the web, it does not stream any local network content. You'll have to grab content from the likes of Youtube, Netflix and the many others that the NeoTV supports. Thankfully, internet TV is really the future and this type of device can satisfy your need for content consumption. The controls on the Youtube player are good and the performance is excellent.

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Even though some people hate Netflix, their streaming service is still one of the best in the market. For a flat rate of $8 per month, you get access to the entire streaming library. Amazon prime members may scoff, but the NeoTV doesn't support Amazon at this point in time. The Netflix interface is one of the better ones we've seen.

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Also included are a few games to pass the time. If you would like, you can load up a game of blackjack and play against the house. This addition may seem far fetched in the world of gaming consoles, but it is something that you may try since it is baked into the NeoTV and ready to go in the same interface.

Video Review



Please check out the video review as we go through the interface and how the NeoTV performs, overall.

Conclusion

The Netgear NeoTV NTV200 retails for a bit less than $70 (Amazon) at the time of posting. This puts it at a more competitive price than competing units, but it does lack the ability to stream local network content as a result. What the NeoTV does have is a well thought out interface which is much easier to use than the competing units. This interface is something that people less technology-inclined may be able to manage and Netgear deserves praise for this.

We can't stress enough that when you are dealing with a streaming player, the interface is very important. Not everyone is as tech savvy as our readers, so when we see an interface that does a good job of presenting information and getting the job done, this shines. Sure, we'd like the ability to stream content from our local network, but Netgear has a product for that as well (the NTV550). The Netgear NeoTV NTV200 is a solid product that focuses on internet streaming and it does it extremely well. We have no problems recommending this product to our readers. Try out the interface and see for yourself the difference it makes.

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