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Review - Netgear NeoTV Streaming Player


My favorite thing about the Amazon Vine program is getting introduced to products I didn't know existed, and but that SOMEONE knew I wanted. That someone was correct: I love this thing, the Netgear NeoTV Streaming Player NTV300.

Netgear's NeoTV is very cool. I live as frugal as possible, and that means not paying monthly luxury bills like cable TV. I have a modest netbook, and watch all my shows free on YouTube, and on HuluPlus for a small monthly access fee. I listen to music for free on Pandora. I've been considering trying Netflix once I work my way through Hulu. I do whatever it takes to avoid a hefty cable bill that I simply can't afford.

I do pay for my internet connection, and that gives me total freedom from the reign of TV. Yet I still HAVE a television, and a nice one (hand me down from family). I use it with a DVD player. I've often thought how nice it would be to watch my Hulu stuff on the actual television, with its superior monitor, bigger speakers and lush viewing size.

Boom. I can do that now. And I can use the included NeoTV remote or my own smartphone to navigate it. I even have the choice of connecting the Netgear box via WIFI or with an ethernet cord.

I didn't know I could do any of this! Here's how it worked.

What Arrived:

- A little black Netgear box unit. It's lightweight and smaller than expected. Holding it feels like handling a child's sandwich with the crusts cut off.

- Pretty little remote with colorful, dedicated buttons for HuluPlus, Netflix, Pandora, You Tube, Cinema Now and VUDU. There are also the usual remote nav buttons: play, stop, pause, forward, back, return, menu and so on. The little colored logo buttons make this remote easier to pick out from a stack of remotes, so that is a plus. Batteries are thoughtfully included, so this runs right out of the box.

- Netgear AC adapter cord.

- Instructions and other paperwork.

- The packaging was all recyclable cardboard and paperboard, with only two little plastic bags that can be reused or tossed. Thoughtful.

- NOT IN BOX: Either an Ethernet cord for non-wireless cases, or an HDMI cable to attach the unit to the television.

I didn't have an HDMI cable, so I needed to order one from Amazon and wait for it to arrive before testing the unit.

Anyway, once I had the cord, I could plug the side of the TV into the Netgear box, plug the box into a wall outlet, and start up the television.

A series of instructions comes up on the TV to get you started. It took me about a half hour to set up, mainly due to the clumsy remote interface.

That extra HDMI cable would have been nice to include so I wouldn't have go back out and buy something to make this whole thing play. I would prefer to get all my components ready to assemble without futzing.

Perhaps the packaging could mention in bigger letters that the buyer needs to pick up an extra HDMI cable before heading home? It's mentioned on the side of the box, but not in an obvious way. I'm not a tech-savvy person, so I need these things spelled out clearly. Like this: "NECESSARY CABLE NOT INCLUDED". :(

While the remote is kludgy, the associated smartphone app works well.

It's great to be able to watch my Hulu programming on my television, and also access YouTube.

Summary:

If you don't have a smart TV or Smart wireless Blu-Ray player, this is a simple, affordable answer that works. You can wirelessly watch computer content on any HDMI ready TV, without having to set up your actual computer to the ensemble. It feels a little magical. :)

NOTE: I received this product for review purposes for free. All opinions expressed are my own.

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