Netgear NeoTV 550 HD Network Media Player ReviewFri, May 13, 2011 - 12:00 AM
NeoTV 550 – Box Contents & Setup
Netgear packs the NeoTV 550 with everything that you need to start viewing and listening to your media. You get a full-sized remote control (with batteries), an Ethernet cable, an AV (composite) cable, Quick Install Guide, Resource CD, and power adapter.
Unlike other companies, Netgear didn’t equip the NeoTV 550 with a HDMI cable, so if you are planning to view your media in high-definition, be sure to have an HDMI cable in hand. Other than this omission, Netgear’s package contents are par for the course.
The NeoTV 550 casing is very nondescript. When you look at the front you can see a power button to the far right, an IR receiver window, an SD card slot port, and a USB port. There are no indicator lights besides the light under the power switch.
On the back you will find a bunch of different input and output ports. No matter what kind of television or monitor you have, the NeoTV will be able to connect to it.
You can connect via component cable, as well as composite, and HDMI. There is an Optical (S/PDIF) and pots where you can directly connect an eSATA or USB drive. You will also find a 100MB Ethernet connection, reset button and power plug.
On both sides you will find ample ventilation – which is important since the NeoTV 550 is a fanless unit.
The Netgear NeoTV 550 is powered by a Sigma 864x processor which powers many of the most popular media boxes (Popcorn Hour, QNAP, etc). Traditionally, the chip has been quite capable and has had the ability to play most multimedia including Blu-ray ISOs. The NeoTV doesn’t come with any fan so we expect quiet running.
The entire package looks exactly like a standard-size Netgear router. In fact, if you put the NeoTV and my Netgear WNDR3700 Router side-by-side it be hard to tell which one is a router in which one is a media player. The over size of the box is not very large at all and should easily fit inside of your AV rack for those who are interested.
When we look at the remote control that comes with the Netgear NeoTV 550, we find a full-size 48 button remote control which dwarfs many other media player controllers. What I like about it is that it actually has a full-size number pad as well as the D-pad directional button in the middle. Netgear has also outfitted the remote with shortcut buttons to go directly to the source that you wish. All in all, it is a very good remote that gets you what you need when you are navigating around.
For those new to electronics and hooking up peripherals, Netgear has a nice little Setup Wizard that will take you step-by-step through the process of configuring your video, audio, and network connections. All-in-all, the setup process should take less than 20 minutes from box opening to playing your first audio or video file.