updated 02:40 pm EDT, Mon September 25, 2006
Although Apple's iTV may be the first media hub to let users purchase online movies and view them directly on a TV, the company is already facing stiff competition from networking specialist Netgear. Its new Digital Entertainer is both the first streaming device of its kind from the company and the first to be certified for Intel's Viiv home theater platform. The latter step ensures that nearby Viiv-certified PCs can connect to and share music, photos, and videos with the new set-top box. Any system using Windows Media Connect or Universal Plug and Play can also supply content to the device. The Digital Entertainer includes a front-mounted USB port to connect to any external mass storage, including iPods. Output is similarly broad-featured: music can be heard through minijack or stereo connectors, while video is possible through RCA, S-Video, and component ports. Netgear says it is shipping the Digital Entertainer now for $269.