The main function of this set-top box is its streaming capability. We have already seen how big the library of web and streaming content is, but what if you aren’t really a fan of all that online stuff and you just want to play your own media files? Could you play the content that you have stored on your hard drive or network attached storage?
We connected our Netgear NeoTV to our home network to see if we could access our shared multimedia files. For us, this really was one of the most important tests of the unit. We looked at a large suite of popular multimedia files that included MKV, AVI, MOV, ISO, TS, M2TS, RMVB, MP4, VOB, WMV, MPG, JPEG, WAV, FLAC, and MP3.
The Netgear NeoTV MAX’s interface was response and playback was pretty quick when streaming. We had some problems with some of the files we tested, however, that sucked some of our excitement away. The first AVI file we tried to play didn’t work. I thought it might be because it was an older file so I tried another and it worked. The other issue we consistently experienced was when we had an MKV video that was recognized, the sound would be mute when the movie played. Overall, most of our MKV files played whether they were 720p or 1080p resolution but the sound issues frustrated us greatly.
We were also disappointed to find that the NeoTV MAX would not recognize – let alone play – our ISO files. We had absolutely no problems playing our FLAC and MP3 music files. The NeoTV would only recognize and display our JPEG files so if you have any other kinds of image files, you will need to make sure to convert them. When they did play, the HD MKV videos were very sharp and looked fantastic on our HD screens.
We didn’t get to test out the Intel WiDi Wireless Display that wirelessly connects your laptop computer to your television, but having this ability in the box makes NeoTV MAX a device you can use for the future. Then again, WiDi really hasn’t taken off and you really don’t even see it being offered in many of the television sets on sale now.
If you are looking for a set top box that gives you access to tons and tons of web content, then you will be quite pleased with the Netgear NeoTV MAX. For those of us who have the need to access a variety of multimedia files, you will probably run into compatibility problems. For around $70 however, it’s a solid device that works.
Legit Bottom Line:
Netgear’s NeoTV MAX is an extremely capable streamer, but comes up short in media playback versatility. If you use Netgear, Hulu, or Vudu exclusively, this will be a great device which comes in at a very economical price point.