Netgear NeoTV NTV200
If streaming HD content on the cheap is your goal, you won’t do much better than Netgear’s $50 NTV200. Granted, the NeoTV’s library of streaming services isn’t quite as expansive as the competition’s — there’s no Amazon Instant Video, for example — but it does have a few advantages over even the more expensive units. Movie buffs will appreciate the Vudu on-demand service as well as full 1080p, which is tough to find at this price point. The $50 Roku LT, for example, is only capable of 720p. The inclusion of an Ethernet port will also come as good news to those with crowded home wireless networks.
Design-wise, the NTV200 is like most other streaming boxes. It’s tiny, black, and will seamlessly blend into nearly any home theater setup. There are downsides, though. An uninspired and often unresponsive menu system can make navigating a painfully tedious experience. The two obtrusive ads running along the top of the screen don’t make the experience any better. Don’t expect to do anything beyond streaming, either. There’s no expansion port and, like the Apple TV, you’ll only be able connect the NTV200 to a TV via an HDMI cable.
get-gadget 1080p at a 720p price. Free remote-control app for iOS and Android makes searching and navigating slightly easier.
TIRED No wireless streaming from external devices. No USB ports from get-gadget streaming, either. Slow, frustrating menus. Limited library.