The Good The Netgear Neo TV NTV300 offers a decent selection of programming -- including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Pandora -- and some customization of its home screen. In video quality it's mostly on par with other units of its type.
The Bad Some key video apps are missing. The unit is prone to sluggishness either in the interface or on occasion during playback. The remote control is overly squishy and the D-pad makes navigation harder due to some poor design decisions. The UI is a little crowded in comparison with those of competing products. Connectivity is limited to HDMI-out only.
The Bottom Line The Netgear Neo TV NTV300 is one of the cheapest streaming boxes on the market, but it doesn't offer any compelling distinguishing features compared with the Roku.
Roku alternative costs less, but offers less
Netgear has been in the business of making digital media-streaming boxes longer than most of its competitors, with its MP101 audio streamer appearing way back in 2004. Of course the streaming market has changed drastically since then and the move to "the cloud" has meant that streaming PC-based media within the home isn't as crucial any more. Services like Netflix and Pandora mean that you no longer need a home library of digital files, and can stream them remotely instead.
While its competitors still include some sort of in-home streaming support, Netgear jettisoned it some time ago with the entry-level NeoTV Max, which includes , DLNA (streaming media from networked Macs and Windows PCs), and a QWERTY keyboard remote for $69.95. And new for 2013 is a Google TV version, the ., and this trend continues with the NTV300. However, you can upgrade to the
At its current sale price of $39.95, the NTV300 is 10 dollars cheaper than the. But the Netgear offers far fewer channel choices, with only YouTube and the SlingPlayer app (for streaming content from Slingboxes) as major differentiators from the Roku. Moreover, the Netgear's interface is a step down, too; the Roku LT's simplicity wins it extra points.