The Netgear NeoTV Prime otherwise known as the GTV100 is now joining an increasing handful of manufactures by bringing a new google tv device to market. However, given the lack of enthusiasm & support from both google and the app community on this product, I wonder if netgear can bring something new to the game. I’ve been using the Logitech revue for several over a year now. Jumped on board the minute the prices were slashed to $99 and while it has been a mixed bag, i’m overall glad I made the purchase. But now 2 years later, let’s see what has changed and if Netgear can make the experience a bit more enticing to the many people still on the fence.
When the Logitech Revue first was brought to market, the high $300 starting price put it out of reach of many potential customers and the new $100 price point was enough to get me on board. But now 2 years later with an entry price of $130, the Netgear GTV is priced just about right for this type of device. Although it didn’t quite make the $100 cut and I really wish it did, I think it will be fine where it is if Netgear can prove it’s good enough.
The hardware looks good, small, compact, light, and will fit nicely just about everywhere. It is a fingerprint magnet for sure but who cares in a device that will likely be hidden from view. It is considerably smaller than the revue but I never considered the revue to be too large. The smaller size (although thickness is similar) will be nice for those trying to hide it away but due to the remote control, you probably will not be able to take put it too far away. The RF remote of the Logitech Revue means that the remote will be usable through walls and other devices. The line of sight requirement of the Netgear NeoTV Prime will be a disappointment to some, but using the Google TV App on your phone or tablet will get rid of that requirement.
Unfortunately for Netgear, the small size was the best part of this device. Can someone please make a cable that can plug into a power strip without taking up 3 outlets. Actually, Logitech did with the Revue but to my dismay, the Netgear GTV100 sported a huge power adapter built into the plug meaning that this device took up 3 outlets in my power strip. Depending on your power strip this may not affect you but I still wish I never had to see this plug again. This is a pain and drives me nuts. The second problem with the Netgear GTV100 began when I realized there were no audio outs other than the HDMI. This means that anyone with a receiver that has HDMI passthrough is essentially screwed and will immediately want to return this box as there will be no way to get audio through the receiver. I know just about every receiver now has will take audio through the HDMI cable, but there are still many receivers that are relatively new missing HDMI audio or that had HDMI passthrough. Those of you using audio only receivers and taking the video directly into the TV will also want to stay away from this device. Other devices such as the Logitech Revue have an optical audio connection for great quality audio out. Also missing is the built in IR blaster of the Logitech Revue that lets you control your other devices with the supplied remote. Although the GTV100 does have a single wired connection (the Revue had 2 wired connections in addition to the wireless abilities), the single port means that you will only be able to control your cable device. No matter what you will do, you better keep all your other remotes on hand which was not necessary with the Revue. In addition, the Revue had 2 USB ports for bringing in other devices such as a hard drive or USB drive and only 1 is present on the Netgear GTV100.
Now lets take a look at the remote. I enjoy it being smaller than the huge standard keyboard of the Revue (logitech does sell a smaller one but at a $60 additional price) but the controller is not an improvement. The touchpad is very small, super sensitive, and combining it with the arrow keys meant that I would frequently move the mouse while clicking or click the arrow key while trying to select something in the center. Also missing is two finger scrolling which the logitech did have and this feature often was used when navigating websites.
Netgear has shrunk the remote by sticking the keyboard on the opposite side of the remote. I don’t find myself using the keyboard too often so I don’t mind not having a full size keyboard, however, when typing, I did occasionally touch buttons on the other side of the device which gave some issues. The shortcuts on the bottom are a nice touch as well however, there are no DVR controls such as a record button so you will need to keep your DVR remote handy as well.
In use, Setup was the standard affair and goes without a hitch in most situations. It did immediately do an update when I was setting it up so the setup did take a while. Using it with my DVR cable box was also not a great experience. Channel changing lagged like crazy, even more so than the logitech revue which was slow but I could live with. On the netgear, you will be using the standard remote for your cable box as well because it lacked the record button needed for DVR functions.
Other than that, I did not find any performance issues in general use. Going back to the homescreen, things are about the same as other stock Google TV boxes and things are a little bit quicker on the netgear than I was used to on the Logitech. I wouldn’t call it fast, but it is definitely less sluggish. It did crash the first time I tried to play a movie using Amazon Prime but overall, the internet seems faster. However, navigating it with this remote proved to be a challenge and a bit frustrating...even for those who are patient with electronics. Of course some of the functions of Google TV are limited as much of the web is blocked from Google TV devices at the moment and most of your videos will come from youtube, amazon, and netflix, all which work well on both devices. I did occasionally have a freeze on both devices when running video on the internet but it was the exception and was never consistent.
Unfortunately, other than what seemed like a slight increase in internet speeds, the Netgear was a letdown in every other area when compared with the Revue. Consider also that Logitech said the Revue was a failed product and that puts another nail into the coffin. With the Logitech revue still on sale on Amazon for $20 cheaper, I don’t think I could suggest anyone towards the Netgear. Google TV is still a beta device for me. It still has many issues that should have been worked out by now but are not. I still enjoy my revue and some of the features it has but it is not for everyone. Unfortunately the Netgear GTV100 was a further disappointment all over the place for me and this Google TV device hardly competes with it’s 2 year old failed competition.