Netgear NeoTV 550 HD Network Media Player Review

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NeoTV 550 – Netgear’s Flagship HD Media Player

Netgear NeoTV 550 HD Media Player

When Netgear introduced the NeoTV 550 last summer, their goals was to make a complete digital media server that plays movies, music, and photos shared on your computer or networked devices including PCs and Macs.  The NeoTV 550 displays and plays your media in full 1080p with HD 7.1 Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound.  It has a built in SD card slot as well as a couple of USB ports so that you bring over your media directly to the media player without a network.

The immediate problem for the Netgear NeoTV 550 is that in the past year or so, there has been a tremendous influx of media players and media streaming enabled devices on the market.  With a retail price of $199, the NeoTV 550 starts off behind the curve being one of the most expensive players on the market.  One of our favorite players – the Western Digital Live Hub carries the same MSRP, but the Western Digital comes with a 1TB hard drive for on-board storage.  The question is: Can the NeoTV 550 deliver performance to justify this cost?

Netgear NeoTV 550 HD Media Player

Netgear recently released a robust firmware upgrade for the NeoTV 550 HD Media Player to give what was already a solid media player a few new bells and whistles.  Firmware 3.0.325 which was released a short time ago features Video and Audio improvements as well as a slew of multimedia streaming upgrades and bug fixes. Today we look at how Netgear’s newest upgrades compares to other top players on the market. 

The Netgear NeoTV 550 Featured Specifications

System Requirements

  • Analog or HDTV

Connections

  • Two (2) USB ports (1 front, 1 back)
  • SD card slot
  • eSATA port
  • 10/100 Ethernet

Languages

  • English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Media Sources

  • USB Storage devices
  • eSATA storage devices
  • SD memory card
  • CIFS/Samba, NFS
  • UPnP AV and DLNA Servers
  • Windows Media Player 11 Media Sharing

Video and Audio Output

  • HDMI 1.3a, 36bpp deep color, 12 bit xvYCC processing and HDCP 1.2 compliant
  • Component video
  • Composite video
  • Stereo analog audio
  • S/PDIF optical digital audio

Digital Media File Formats

  • Video:
  • Codec format:
  • H.264 HP@L4.1 up to 1080p
  • VC1 MP@HL, AP@L3
  • WMV 9
  • MPEG-2 MP@HL up to 1080p
  • MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP@L5 to 10 Mbps (Xvid)
  • MPEG1/2/4 SD
  • H.263
  • Container format: AVI, Xvid, MOV, MP4, MPEG2 PS, MPEG2-TS, DVD ISO/VOB/IFO, MKV, ASF, AVCHD, DivX, WMV, M4A, M2TS, MTS, MP1, MP2, MPG, DVR-MS, BDMV
  • Blu-ray (external USB Blu-ray player not supported)
  • Audio:
  • Dolby Digital (AC3), Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD
  • DTS 2.0+, DTS HD and DTS HD MA (passthru)
  • MP3 up to 320 Kbps or variable bit rate (VBR)
  • Gapless playback MP3, FLAC, M4A, M2TS
  • WMA8 and WMA9 up to 192 Kbps or variable bit rate (VBR)
  • WMAPro, AAC, FLAC (to 5.1, 192Khz), PCM LPCM/WAV (to 5.1, 192Khz)
  • Internet radio (streaming MP3)
  • MKA
  • Photo
  • JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF
  • Subtitle:
  • SRT, SMI, SSA, SUB, TXT, DVD, PGS, VOBSUB, SUB/IDX
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