Netgear Pushes YouTube into Living Rooms

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If you’ve ever hovered around a friend’s computer watching a compilation of Swedish black metal videos, dogs skateboarding, or motorcycle crashes, chances are you’re a YouTube addict – and you’ve probably yearned for the day you can comfortably watch it from a recliner instead. A number of companies have set their sights on the burgeoning Internet-on-TV market, and Netgear hopes to take the crown this year with its own Internet TV Player.

After watching the unveiling of the $199 box at Netgear’s press conference yesterday, I was able to get a first-hand demonstration of the box at Netgear’s booth. The company designed the Internet TV player as an alternative to the typical solution of trailing a bundle of component cords from a laptop to a TV, and while its range of operation is technically quite limited (it can’t for instance, stream video from a computer), the sheer volume of content its able to deliver makes it a viable alternative to flicking on the TV.

Opening the YouTube tab from the main menu presents the usual array of hot front-page content, but users can also navigate to YouTube channels, or even search for specifically what they want. Though this mimics the desktop YouTube experience quite closely, Netgear has also taken it a step further by allowing users to skip forward to the next video with a simple button, emulating the channel-surfing experience of cable TV.

Besides YouTube, the Internet TV Player also harnesses VTap to churn up video from other sites, and can even tap into streams from over 90 live foreign channels. Wondering what’s playing on TVs in Paris right now? Netgear’s box will play it.

For $200, Netgear’s Internet TV player looks like a very viable option for those who want to splash YouTube all over the big screen.

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