Bring the internet to your TV
Although media streamers have been around for years, no manufacturer has quite got them right so far. These devices allow users to watch videos and listen to music from their computers without having to be sitting at their computers.
Most of the models we look at are flawed in some way, and Netgear's NeoTV 550 is no exception.
It started promisingly enough. The device itself is the usual small grey box, and it comes with a stand so it can be placed horizontally or upright.
The NeoTV 550 connects to your home network using the supplied cable (a separate adapter is required for a wireless connection) and to your TV using HDMI or component cables, neither of which are supplied.
It does come with a cable to connect it using the television's composite connections, but this will result in a poor-quality picture, defeating the point of the product. There's an optical audio output to connect it to a suitable amplifier.
On starting it, things looked good - the menus have been rendered in high definition (HD) and looked great on an HD TV. It prompted us to download an update, which took about 10 minutes, then restarted and prompted us to test the audio connection and select a video resolution (the default ‘auto' setting worked fine). It then scanned our network for computers with media to play.
We had to browse through a long list of countries to select the UK, then the same again with a list of cities. It didn't say on screen, but the numeric keys on the remote control, which have telephone-style letters printed on them, can be used to jump to a letter in the list.
Annoyingly, the only thing this information seems to be used for is to show weather information, which is useful but hardly necessary.
This part of the device worked reasonably well - music and video files were easy to navigate and well displayed, though as with most streamers it's a pain to have to scroll through hundreds of files using the remote control rather than the mouse you'd use on a computer.
Read more reviews
Works fine as a media player and streamer - just don't buy it for the internet features
Great playback quality; menus were easy to follow; simple to set up
Internet TV features didn't work properly; slow to respond to button-presses
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