What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 23 Jul 2007, 12:00pm

Netgear EVA8000

Tested at £200
80100
4

The widest format support, plus flawless wireless streaming, put this among the best network players we’ve seen so far

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For

  • Stutter-free wireless streaming
  • access to YouTube
  • plays copy-protected music files

Against

  • No Apple Lossless support
  • no DVD

Netgear's bid to enter your lounge is one genuinely worth considering.

It's really easy to set up, finding suitable networks within seconds. Unlike some rivals, it'll smoothly playback wirelessly streamed HD content.

Our 720p test videos were colourful and detailed, with no stuttering to spoil the delivery.

Also unlike several competitors, the EVA supports protected music purchased from iTunes.

However, trying to play an Apple Lossless file switched the unit off – not quite what we were expecting. Netgear tells us Lossless support might be included in the next firmware upgrade.

Widest selection of formats and best quality
This is a shame as, with the exception of Lossless, the EVA8000 handled everything we threw at it to a very high standard. It won't improve poor-quality files, but feed it decent video, and you're rewarded with sharp, smooth, detailed pictures.

What's more, if you fancy checking the footie scores while watching the latest episode of Lost, the file continues to play in a window as you navigate to the online news and sport.

Speaking of which, though the menu system isn't massively exciting, it's far smarter than some we've seen, and does include photo thumbnails.

As well as internet news, sport and radio, the Netgear also streams video from YouTube. Admittedly, these are a pixellated mess on a big-screen, but it's a start.

Overall, despite the lack of a built-in DVD player or Lossless support, this is still one of the best network players we've reviewed so far.

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