At CES 2007 today, Netgear announced the Digital Entertainer HD (EVA8000), a media receiver that allows users to stream a wide variety of digital content to their entertainment systems, including HD movies, iTunes content (on Windows machines only), and even YouTube videos, as well as record television content like a digital video recorder. You can stream content from networked PCs, network-attached storage devices, and even locally connected USB media devices.
Connected to your home entertainment system and your network router, the Digital Entertainer HD sucks in all the multimedia content on your network--including photos, videos, and music--from multiple machines and consolidates it all into a single media library, sortable by media type, title, genre, and even thumbnail art. Though you'll have to install a small program to stream YouTube or iTunes content to your entertainment system or to access your PC from your television, you won't have to install server software. If you have a TV tuner on your PC, you can also schedule the Digital Entertainer HD to record television shows, just like a DVR. And you can play content directly from a USB flash drive or an MP3 player by plugging it directly into one of two USB ports.
With multiple Digital Entertainment HD units, you can set up options called, "Follow Me," and, "Party Mode." Follow Me allows you to pause content on one TV, move to another room, and start up the same content from the same spot on a different TV. Party Mode lets you play the same content to all the TVs in your home.
In terms of output, the Digital Entertainer HD sports an HDMI port that displays up to 1080p resolution, though Netgear warns that 802.11g networks lack sufficient throughput to stream high-definition content. They recommend a draft N router or, an even better option, HD Powerline adapters, which use your home's electrical network to transmit data.
Netgear expects to ship the Digital Entertainment HD in the first quarter for $350.