Launched at CES 2009, Netgear's Internet TV Player (ITV2000) is a compact "plug in and go" Internet set-top device with a simple remote control that enables viewers to watch Internet videos including YouTube, live Internet TV, video websites, premium video-on-demand and online video searches on their TVs.
As with Apple's Apple TV system rather than watching videos on PC screens in separate rooms, families can watch video from a variety of Internet sources on the TV together, in the comfort of their den or family room.
The Internet TV Player streams content from popular sites such as BBC.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, EuroSport.com, NBC.com, PGATour and TMZ.com, as well as video sites such as YouTube, Google Videos, Yahoo Videos and MetaCafe.
Netgear's Internet TV Player supports streaming of live TV broadcasts from Internet sites around the world, and premium, paid movies on demand such as CinemaNow.com, in addition to downloaded videos from sites such as BitTorrent.
Netgear claims that its superior VTap video search capabilities enable the intelligent search of Internet videos, including targeting video sites by country, topic of interest, person or popular website. Consumers are also able to play video, music, and photos from a local USB flash drive.
Slightly larger than a deck of cards, the compact Internet TV Player connects to the home network and the Internet via Ethernet or wireless USB adaptor. It does not require a PC to play Internet video, nor does it require installing any PC software or setting up file sharing or firewall settings.
The Netgear Internet TV Player (ITV2000) is expected to be available in early Summer 2009 for US$199.
"Internet video consumption is at an all-time high," said Vivek Pathela, Netgear's vice president and general manager of home/consumer products.
"Just in the month of October 2008 alone, comScore estimated that almost half of the total US population viewed more than 13.5 billion online videos. That's a large number of Internet videos that are viewed mostly on PCs, even though many people would rather watch them on their TVs."
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