Our Verdict

A hugely functional and easy-to-use media player that will find files on just about any device

For

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Huge file support
  • Great remote
  • Cover art is useful
  • Good value for money

Against

  • Lack of internet apps
  • Looks bland
  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • No HDMI cable

Despite the ongoing march of Blu-ray into homes across the country, there's been no let-up in the number of media devices that enable you to get all the media you've collated on your PC – whether movies, music files or photos – and access them on your TV in another room.

These boxes of joy can deliver the goods stored on your PC in a variety of ways: by having a built-in hard drive that you can put your files onto, like the D-Link Boxee Box or the Western Digital WDTV Live Hub; by simply plugging an external hard drive into the device, as the AC Ryan PlayOn! HD2 Mini does so well; or by streaming them from your computer over the air, like with the AirTies 4420, which is capable of punting full HD movies from one place to the other.

The Netgear NeoTV 550 takes the latter approach, but it also doubles up as a network-attached media player, allowing you to stream content from the internet, such as YouTube videos, or listen to radio stations. The NeoTV also caters for those wishing to get their media kicks through a locally-attached storage device.

You can plug in a USB memory stick and a hard drive at the same time via the two USB slots, you can stick in an SD card – which is ideal for photographers or those using a handy cam – and there's even an eSATA connection – brilliant if you're connecting a large hard drive with lots of files on that you want to access quickly.

So, then, nearly all the important boxes are ticked – however you want your media to be served, the NeoTV can manage it. But does it do any of it particularly well?