The Netgear Powerline AV kit puts an ethernet port wherever you have a power outlet.
Plug one of the two included Netgear Powerline AV adaptors into a wall outlet and into your router, and then plug the other one into an outlet next to the remote device you want to connect, such as a game console, a streaming media box, or a printer. They will detect each other within seconds, and you'll be up and running.
To change the default encryption passphrase (recommended if you share electrical circuits with others or are concerned about security), simply press buttons on each Netgear Powerline AV adaptor within two minutes.
Data-transfer performance is very good. In our tests the Netgear Powerline AV hardware streamed glitch-free high-definition video from a Slingbox, with sustained throughput of about 60 mbps.
Setup and performance is similar to those of most other HomePlug AV powerline networking kits, but Netgear adds several small but useful features that set the Netgear Powerline AV kit apart from the rest.
The basic design of the Netgear Powerline AV is especially convenient, with the ethernet port and encryption button at the side of the adaptors, rather than hidden on the bottom (as on most other kits), making them easier to reach.
Netgear's excellent software utility has the unique ability to turn off the LEDs on the Netgear Powerline AV adaptors, a boon in darkened home theatres or bedrooms. The utility can also set specific encryption passphrases.
A firmware update makes the push-button encryption setup even easier, by eliminating a step from an already simple procedure. This convenient setup should eventually appear in other kits, too, since all of them are based on the same Intellon chipset.
Our only quibble is that Netgear doesn't make a multiport powerline adaptor, which would be ideal for connecting multiple home-theatre devices such as game consoles, Sky+ boxes, and streaming-media boxes. You can, however, use the Netgear kit in combination with a standard ethernet switch to provide extra ports.
NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict >>