Netgear brings Youtube to the living room

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Netgear brings Youtube to the living room

New Digital Entertainer HD unlocks user generated video to couch potatoes.

Netgear at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has unveiled a new media adapter that allows users to access Youtube videos on a regular television.

Using the Youtube application programming interface (API) that Youtube has made available to developers, the device allows users to browse the most popular Youtube videos using a remote control. They can also search for videos and select users whose videos they want to track.

The Digital Entertainer HD is the first device that makes Youtube videos available on a television, claimed Netgear's vice president of product marketing Vivek Pathela.

In addition to accessing Youtube content, the device also allows users to play digital music files, including music purchased from the iTunes store and that is protected by Apple's Fairplay digital rights management (DRM) technology. Streaming iTunes content is available only for legally acquired content on computers running Windows.

The Apple Fairplay option is remarkable because Apple doesn't support its DRM on third party appliances. The company claimed that proprietary technology allows it to transfer the music, but declined to provide any details. One possible scenario to transfer the music would be to stream the actual audio signal from iTunes directly to the media adapter, thereby evading the DRM.

The adapter furthermore acts as an interface to play video content downloaded off the Internet, including high definition content. It can also record and play television shows, but that service requires a PC with a TV tuner that is running Windows Media Centre Edition. The recordings can be stored either on the computer's hard drive or on an external hard drive that is attached directly to the adapter through a USB connection.

Streaming high definition content for instance requires users to build a network using the pre-release 802.11n standard or the nascent Ethernet over powerline technology. The device also offers Ethernet and regular Wi-Fi connections.

The device is slated for availability later this quarter and will retail at US$349.
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