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  • probedb - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    ...and there I was about to buy a Play!ON HD mini. I hope you guys do a really good review of media streamers once this comes out.

    Frequent firmware updates are definitely a required feature for these. IMO WD fail because they're very bad with updates.
    Reply
  • Decaff - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I actually just bought a Playon! HD mini, and so far it has been really great. A little more tweaking of the firmware and I think it will be absolutely perfect (for me at least).

    Though had I seen this one was coming up, I too would probably have waited as well
    Reply
  • buhusky - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    no gigabit = not getting my money for a media/blu-ray iso streaming device. how are companies still making 10/100 devices still? is gigabit that much more expensive to put in? Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    There is a thread on AVSForums showing Popbox (using SMP 8643) with a 10/100 port streaming Blu-Ray ISOs without any issues from a NAS.

    In my opinion, it is the implementation of the networking stack and the host processor speed which matters. I think the NTV550 will pass the test, but can confirm only after the review.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    Agreed - the only Fail is the original posts understanding of technology.

    Gigabit ethernet triggers A LOT of interrupts regardless of whether the bus is PCI or PCI-E. This just doesn't make sense on small devices without the horsepower of a PC. As ganeshts has told us, a Blu-Ray ISO can be streamed over 100Mbit - I can't think of a more network intensive task you can ask of a media player than that!
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    Not necessarily. With GigE also comes jumbo frames, reducing the number of interrupts. Also, 9k frame sizes are better suited to sequential streaming of large files.

    That said, 100 Mbps is fast enough to move a 4 GB file (ie. 2 hour MPEG2 DVD movie) in about 7 minutes. Far faster than is needed for streaming / playing files from an NFS share. Even Blu-Ray only requires 54 Mbps.

    So, the only other aspect, really, is transferring files to a HD connected to the media device. I have had a Iomega HD device with GigE for a while. Yes, GigE is faster than 10/100, but it is still far too slow, and WLAN is agonizingly slow. When I just want to transfer files to the Iomega's hard drive, I find it far simpler and faster to move it to my PC and plug it into USB. The Netgear has eSATA, meaning I would never use NFS other than for streaming. Far faster to move an eSATA drive back and forth physically for transferring files.
    Reply
  • CrapONez - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I just bought the Viewsonic NexTV VMP75 and moved my Netgear Homeplug HDX101 from my daughter's room to my living room. I'm getting FAR less bandwidth there than I was in her room (less than half). Too little to stream HD reliably (30-50Mbps). The other outlet plug goes to my power conditioner into which all my devices (including a 50" plasma) are plugged into.

    I connected a TB external drive via eSata to the VMP75 and it plays HD beautifully. Unfortunately I only get ~5Mbps transfer rates when copying files to it from an XP machine. I noticed at one point this went up to 15Mbps when all the A/V components were off. Does the power draw on the Homeplug's twin outlet affect throughput? I've been thinking of trying to move it to a different outlet.

    I tried running Ethernet in the house... bought a fish tape and 500' of cat5e cable with connectors and all, climbed up into the attic heat of a Florida home with roofing nails clawing at my every move, and gave up when I realized that there were cross-braces between joists in the wall impeding my efforts.

    The Homeplug has been great and effortless and worth the price. If only I could get the throughput I was getting in the other room. The computer room and my daughter's bedroom are on one side of the house and the entertainment system is on the other. Could that be why?
    Reply
  • markk2 - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    CrapONez,
    Plugging into power conditioners and a UPS was my problem with the Netgear stuff. I was getting round 25Mbps until I did some research and started plugging directly into the wall outlets. Now I always get 180-200Mbps at all three points in a two story 3000 sq ft house. Let us know if that works for you.
    Reply
  • CrapONez - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    Sorry if I was vague. I'm plugged directly into the wall at both ends. My AV power conditioner is plugged into the other receptacle of the same outlet. I was wondering if the power draw from it might affect my throughput or if it's simply because it's in a different part of the house (different side of the panel or longer run). thx! Reply
  • CrapONez - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    I tried an alternate outlet and immediately the Tx and Rx rates reported by the HDX101 configuration utility jumped to over 100Mbps. I thought I had a solution. But over the next few minutes, those numbers came down to around 50Mbps. (WTF?) That was last evening. Now they're hovering around 60Mbps. The "Quality" reading has jumped from "Data" to "DVD Video", but still a far cry from "HD Video". Any ideas why the initial reading was so high and then degraded from there?

    At least turning on the AV equipment doesn't affect throughput anymore.
    Reply
  • markk2 - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    "Any ideas why the initial reading was so high and then degraded from there?"

    The only other thing I can think of is microwave ovens and flourescent lights. I found those items to have the most dramatic effect on my network. My AV stuff doesn't seem to create any problems at all.

    I guess the lesson here is that some experimentation is needed to get max performance.
    Reply
  • bznotins - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    Netgear is pretty notorious for early abandonment of existing products on firmware development. With current MKVs now coming with compressed audio headers, the Netgear EVA-9150 can no longer play the audio on these titles. There hasn't been a firmware release for the 9150 since early 2010 since it is clear the devs are working on the "next best thing". This also happened with the EVA8000 -- firmware development ended there before many of the features on the box were implemented.

    Netgear makes good media streamers, just know that firmware development isn't their strength or focus.
    Reply
  • gwolfman - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    +10 for including full Blu-ray and DVD menu support!!!!!!!!!! :) Reply
  • barry233 - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    Not having Netflix is a killer. I would not bother with any streamer unless it can stream Netflix. Reply
  • chromal - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    You should be sure to include in your testing methodology a means of determining whether this technology emits radio-frequency-interference that would import amateur radio operators on HF (e.g.: shortwave) bands. If it does, it will not be an acceptable consumer electronics product. Reply
  • MGSsancho - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    This is all fine and dandy but until they support features of my aging popcornhour I will not buy it. MKV with subtitle support is a must for me. support all the stuff MKV does well and you have a chance of becoming a show stopper. anything else is an unsold toy. Reply
  • JadedMan - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    The video specs look good to me!! One thing I would like to see reviewed is audio support. Lossless audio such as FLAC is important, but also the ability to send an unaltered bit-perfect audio stream through the optical or coax digital audio port. That is important for proper bit-streaming of HDCD encoded rips. I have an outboard DAC that supports HDCD, but a couple of media streamers I've tried do not properly pass through the HDCD encoding. As HDCD is encoded on the least significant bit of the digital audio stream, even minute changes to the audio stream destroy the HDCD encoding. And 24-96 digital audio output via an optical or coax digital audio output would be nice too! Reply
  • jimmyzaas - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Please in your upcoming review of the new Powerline units mention about power protection when using these PowerLine adapters. None of the reviews on current units never mention anything about it. They just mention "oh it works great. it works ok. it's fast. it's slow".. but wait.. what about possibility of frying your delicate home theatre gear?? Mind you, I know all electronics have some small degree of surge protection in them to get that UL rating. It's still concerning.

    From your WD powerline review, noticed there is a transformer. Is that effectively the surge protection? What about these "noise filters" they implement in Powerline AV+ series? Do these apply to the Ethernet ports as well? Are the noise filters the surge protection? I don't see any MOVs in those.. although I know MOVs are a fire hazard themselves over time.

    Linksys units mention they already have surge protection in the units and please do not plug units into a surge protector. It however does not list in specs how many joules, let-through voltage or response time. WTH? Meanwhile, other units like Trendnet tell you specifically to DO NOT CONNECT and DISCONNECT your unit during a thunderstorm. WTH? What sane person would wake up at 3:00am to disconnect these units during a thunderstorm at night?

    This is the only thing holding me back from purchasing one of these units. The only other thing I can think of is buying another huge surge protector with ethernet ports.. just for the surge protection.. although I don't think that's very economical. Then there's also the APC ProtectNet standalone surge protector.. but where do I connect the ground? lol.

    I worry about this because a few years back, my computer PSU fried during a thunderstorm. Every since, all my equipment are either surge protected or behind a UPS.

    I don't think we can take the word of the manufacturer on this.. gotta do some testing.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Jimmy,

    All powerline devices sold in the US market have to pass UL certification which looks at the safety regulations.

    As far as I know, in the 8 or so years of powerline product shipment, there has been no report of any equipment that has been fried :) I guess manufacturers do run through surge tests on the units, and I will definitely get the exact details from Netgear while reviewing their units.

    As for Trendnet's suggestion, just as you are hesitant, they also want to cover their bases. Do you know that is is possible for your DSL modem to get fried due to thunderstorms? In fact, I personally know of people whose DSL modem (as well as the router it was connected to) got damaged due to a thunderstorms in the night time (no one switches them off, as the Internet is considered to be an always-on resource nowadays). Trendnet wants to make you aware of the issue since a fried powerline adapter / router could pose a fire hazard if the consumer tried to use a damaged unit.
    Reply
  • scJohn - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    HDI has announced 4 new Dune media players that will be available for purchase in Sept. 2010. See
    http://dune-hd.com/

    Looks like steaming media boxes are going to be hot for this Christmas.

    Hardware specs mean nothing with out also having quality film-ware and good support for that film-ware. This is the area, film-ware, where the majority of these media device fail. Need I mention the PopBox disaster.

    And what's with this ever constant NetFlix coming soon? Can some one break thru the NDA fud and find out what it takes to get NF's seal of approval to run on these media devices. Supposedly the manufacturer has to prove that they will be able to sell 100,000 units the first year, but what else is required.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Yes, the Dune also has a Blu-Ray license. However, the minimum cost in that series seems to be $239.99, which is why I indicated enthusiasm for the NTV550 as it has a lower price point :)

    Of course, firmware needs to be good, as you indicate. Let us just hope that Netgear keeps up with this, as they have the perfect platform to take off from.
    Reply
  • Xichekolas - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    At this price point, why wouldn't I get a ZBOX? That would allow me to control/upgrade the software, and can be a server to boot.

    The powerline networking stuff is finally becoming relevant at least!
    Reply
  • romeogg - Sunday, August 29, 2010 - link

    I would like to see the performance of the new netgear powerline AV kit through GFCI and AFCI outlets, which are now standard in homes built after 2002 in most states of the US. Reply
  • themaninspain - Wednesday, September 01, 2010 - link

    My personal experience of Netgear's AV hardware has been very bad. I bought an EVA700 2 1/2 yrs ago and Netgear has not released a single firmware update. I bought an O!Play HDP-R1 in July and Asus has released 2 updates so far. I would not consider buying Netgear HW again. Reply
  • DickyBoy35 - Tuesday, September 07, 2010 - link

    See here: http://havetheknowhow.com/Hardware-reviews/Netgear... Reply
  • UrQuan3 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I know it's kind of late to post a request for the review, but do you think an audio comparison would be possible? Say, compared to an integrated and a mid-range audio card? I'm not expecting audiophile for $200, but I've heard some really bad equipment in the past. Reply
  • Toadster - Thursday, December 09, 2010 - link

    when are they released? Reply

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