updated 10:55 am EST, Mon March 1, 2010
Netgear targets media hubs, consoles with kits
Netgear chose CeBIT today to launch a quartet of network adapters and kits specifically targeted at networked media hubs like the Apple TV as well as game consoles. The HD Home Theater Kit carries two 802.11n Wi-Fi adapters that alternately turn the home network wireless and bring a given home theater device on to the same network. The system is "carrier-grade" and can reliably stream multiple 1080p videos at once within range; Wi-Fi Protected Setup adds extra adapters to the same network.
Those with an existing network also have the option of the Ethernet to Wireless Adapter. Netgear pitches the device as the smallest wireless bridge of its kind and can be powered entirely by a USB port if the attached device has one. It too runs on 802.11n and uses WPS for automatic security.
Shipments start first for the bridge, which ships in May for $79. The HD Home Theater Kit doesn't ship until the summer and will get pricing as well as a specific release date closer to that point.
Wire-only users in turn get two powerline networking options. Both the Powerline AV 500 and Powerline AV+ 500 are some of the fastest networking devices to use an existing connection and will transmit as quickly as 500Mbps, making very high speed transfers possible where most such links are capped at 200Mbps or less.
The adapters still support any non-Netgear adapters that support HomePlug and have LEDs that can indicate the quality of the signal before users commit to using a wall outlet for the network. The AV+ model separates itself from the regular version only by including a filtered pass-through plug for other devices that might need power from the same outlet. Like the home theater kit, neither powerline adapter ships until summer and will get pricing closer to that point.
Ethernet to Wireless Adapter
Powerline AV 500 and AV+ 500