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Review: NETGEAR MP115 Wireless Digital Media Player

Introduction

NETGEAR Wireless Digital Media Player
SummaryMedia player supporting music, image and video with Ethernet and 802.11b/g connectivity
UpdateNone
Pros• Supports wide range of music & video formats
• Follows UPnpP standard
• 802.11g & Ethernet connectivity
Cons• Unexciting user interface
• Picky about supported video formats
• Personal firewalls can cause problems
• No WPA support

As my digital media library grows, I'm constantly on the lookout for the perfect little box to let me access it from my home's conventional audio / visual gear. I'd like to be show photos and digital movies on my TV, play my digital music library through my stereo and have one user interface to control it all. The box should be able to pull content from any of its locations on my network, especially my networked storage devices. Tall order? Perhaps - but I can always hope! In this review , I'm going to take a look at a device that's designed to do most of what I'm looking for - the Netgear MP115.

The MP115 is a network device that's designed to be a bridge between your entertainment center and your PC. It's equipped with both 802.11b/g and Ethernet networking capabilities for connection into your home network. Output ports are provided for connecting to your stereo and video system including RCA-style audio and composite video, S-Video, and Y/Pb/Pr component video. There is also one undocumented, and apparently unused, USB port. (Figure 1)

When I opened the MP115 box, it was a bit bigger than I expected. Since it has no internal hard-drive or display, I expected it to be tiny, but it was just a little smaller than a cereal box.

Unlike Netgear's MP101 music-only device, the MP115 does not have a front panel LCD display, opting instead to use its video output to a TV for its UI display. No buttons are provided on the device either - you drive the box via an infrared remote.