Netgear launches HD streaming assault

Netgear has launched a series of new products at CES in Las Vegas that are designed to address the growing demand for HD streaming in the home.

The company is integrating a new video packet-loss prevention technology across all of its networking and multimedia products, which it claims will triple the reliability of full 1080p video streaming. “The challenge of playing HD video is maintaining your broadband connection,” said Chris Geiser, Netgear’s product marketing manager for home products.

As far as specific product launches go, the company will introduce a new high performance 802.11n bridge in the Spring, which will help that full HD content reach the televisions and PCs dotted around the house. The bridge will offer 4×4 MIMO streaming over the low-interference 5GHz band, which Geiser claims will offer “unprecedented levels of wireless video performance”.

That will launch alongside the 5-port Home Theater and Gaming Network Switch (GS605AV), which is designed to connect devices such as HD televisions, games consoles and Blu-ray players. The device allows users to assign priority to specific devices, ensuring for example, that HD video streams to the television are given greater priority than gaming traffic.

NETGEAR Powerline 200 AV Adapter KitFor those still unwilling to place their faith in wireless, Netgear is also introducing a new powerline networking product, the Powerline 200 AV Adapter Kit (XAVB2001). The device is up to 50% smaller than rival products, according to Geiser, and it’s certainly compact enough not to block access to adjacent plug sockets – a common complaint with powerline products. Better still, the device doubles as a plug adaptor, which means you don’t waste the plug socket.

Entertainment centres

Netgear has further expanded its range of digital media players, with the new Digital Entertainer Express (EVA9100). The products offers 1080p video streaming, as well as MP3, WAV and FLAC playback from NAS or other devices on the home network. The device allows users to stream BBC iPlayer shows directly to their HD television, as well as feeds from 250 internet radio stations, photo-sharing site Flickr and other internet services.

The company also plans to boost the storage capacity of its Stora media servers to 2TB in the Spring. As well as providing storage for in-house devices such as the Entertainer Express, the Stora boasts a smartly designed web interface, allowing devices such as the iPhone to remotely access photos and videos stored on the home network.

The Stora is tightly integrated with social-networking sites, allowing users to share photos on Facebook by simply dropping photos into a specific folder, for example.

Mobile back-up

Finally, Netgear is launching a new wireless router with support for mobile broadband, to act as backup in case the DSL line fails. The snappily titled Wireless-N 300 Router with DSL Modem – Mobile Broadband Edition (DGN2200M) offers support for 3G, 4G and WiMAX USB modems. The product is being targeted at small businesses who can’t afford to be without a net connection.

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