The Netgear NTV200 UI is based on Adobe StageCraft 1.2, but the fonts and the design of the home screen are nothing to write home about. In fact, the layout and ad-placement make for a very cluttered look. I am not a big fan of boxes like the Rokus and the NTV200 trying to shove advertisements down your throat (given that you have already paid money to purchase the unit). While the Roku has a pleasing 10-foot UI and just one ad beneath the carousel, the NTV200 goes overboard with two ads right on top. At the least, it would be nice if these boxes gave users the options of turning the ads off.

The NTV200 helpfully breaks up the various apps into different categories in the left pane. Like the Roku 2, we also have a selection of games, but the few that I tried didn't make for an interesting big screen experience. Unlike the Roku 2's BCM2835, I suspect that the BCM7615 lacks a 3D graphics engine explaining the lack of better games (like Angry Birds) and the staid user interface.

The remote control bundled with the unit is quite different from the usual remotes. For a small remote, it does feel quite solid in the hand, but I have seen people complaining about it too..

Fortunately, the NTV200 offers two other ways to control the unit. The first one is with the help of either an iOS or an Android device. Apps are available for both versions in the respective app stores. We took the Android app out for a spin and were quite satisfied with the functionality (except for the startup time, which could have been shorter). Some screenshots of the Android remote in action are given below.

The second way is through the HDMI-CEC link. I have had the opportunity to play with a large number of HDMI devices, and the NTV200 is one of the very few which actually implements good support for HDMI-CEC. With this, I was able to use my TV remote as well as receiver remote to carry out basic navigation as well as selection of menu items. Since the remote has only a few possible key press combinations, CEC with the NTV200 is much easier to use when compared to using it with other CEC enabled media streamers like the WDTV Live Streaming Media Player and the Popcorn Hour A300.


Unboxing and Setup Impressions Streaming Services - Netflix and Vudu
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  • JoeMcJoe - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    That remote looks ok.

    I have the Boxee one, its terrible, worst remote ever.

    The interface to the Boxee is pretty poor also, I have it because it plays MKVs and DVD ISOs great. I hope it plays Blue ray ISOs one day too.

    I use a Qnap NAS.

    The PS3 interface is great.
  • Matt355 - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    When I first got my Boxee box it needed to update its software, its Still not as polished as the Apple TV But its good. I like the remote because it makes using the web browser easier and mine has a dedicated Netflix button.
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Personally I have little faith in Neatgear at this point in time

    I purchased said router only to find that it wouldn't retain an ip address for anything over 30 seconds. No review mentioned this which was odd so I now think twice before thinking about anything 'netgear'. Plus, obviously, the wireless dongles can be a bit pap at times
  • OzzieGT - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    One thing which is sorely lacking is how the box handles local streaming (file shares, DLNA, etc). This is a very important feature in a box like this for me.
  • ganeshts - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    There is nothing around this unit's price point which has all these premium video features and also support for media over local networks. (Roku has some sort of Plex support, but it is really very spotty and there is no native codec support most of the time).

    As I said in the concluding remarks, go with the WDTV Live SMP which has better local media support and also has almost all the premium VoD services one would use..
  • Brovane - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Why would NetGear launch this box and leave out Amazon Vod?
  • Matt355 - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    I Know. it must be licensing or something because its not on Xbox, Playstation, or even Boxee. I mostly see it on Tivo.
  • sulu1977 - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Where's the web surfing capability? If people can surf the web on a tiny cell-phone, wouldn't it be far more logical o be able to surf the web on a big TV?
  • shorty lickens - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    I just got my mom the Roku LT for Xmas. According to this article, the Netgear is slightly better for the same money.
    Oh well.
  • HiFreak1c - Saturday, December 24, 2011 - link

    Actually, Xbox360 can stream MKV w/ Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound through windows Media Centre. It just can't play DTS is all.

    Addon for WMC:
    Codec support:
    Codec support: http://

    Mine works fine most of the time, apart from a few issues with it locking up and stuff. I'm going to replace it with a HTPC soon, but for the mean time it works fine as a poor mans alternative to a proper HTPC build.

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