Netgear ups the ante with the NeoTV 550 Ultimate HD media player, we’re cautiously optimistic for October

Netgear NeoTV 550

Going on sale in North America in October 2010 for a scant $220, Netgear’s NeoTV 550 improves upon the Digital Entertainer Live (that modified 5 port switch case with a so so media  player crammed inside). This version ramps up to 1080p support (from 720p in the Live) and DTS multichannel audio, and codec support includes H.264, Mpeg-2, Mp4, AVI, Windows Media, and DivX/Xvid, among others.  Read through to find more information, and a specification table. Hopefully we can get our mittens on one to determine if the existing IP driver for Control4 from the 8000/9100/9150 models will work, and what kind of experience is had with “HD Content” we have sitting around our network. We don’t know how it got there, honest.

The NeoTV can also access content stored on DLNA, UPnP, and MMS servers on your network. Specs so far include Component, HDMI, SPDIF optical, eSATA, USB, SD Card, and 10/100 ethernet (no wireless option, though). Interestingly, Netgear is saying that you can hook up a Blu-ray drive (via eSATA or USB - We dont see too many eSATA BD drives hanging around) to it and have a fully functional Blu-ray experience – access all of the menus, navigation, and BD-Live content without leaving the NeoTV menu system – and those look like Dolby TrueHD and DTS logos to us. Netgear is expected to officially launch the product next week – along with a baby brother 350 model that swaps the ESATA for another usb port and ships with a more basic remote, thoguh no info on what’s sacrificed play-back wise.

NTV550 Spec table