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CES 2012: Netgear's New Releases All About Streaming Entertainment

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LAS VEGAS--Netgear held its CES press conference this morning, and delivering streamed entertainment to the home weighed heavily in its eight product announcements.

The biggest release for the connected home is the Media Storage Router, a combination router and network storage device with a 2TB capacity. It’s meant to provide extra protection for home media libraries, so that a computer failure doesn’t destroy a family’s library, said David Henry, the company’s vice president of product management, who lead the presentation. The device supports Apple Time Machine for backups, and also includes Windows backup software. It’s dual-band and includes firewall protection. Netgear didn’t offer a release date or prices.

Netgear is enhancing its Neo TV set-top box with Hulu Plus access. Owners can now control the device with a smartphone app, although Henry didn’t mention a specific smartphone operating system. Future versions of the device will include Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) support, Henry said, allowing people to wirelessly stream content from their laptops to their TV screens.

Noting that smart TVs don’t always include Wi-Fi, Henry introduced the N900 Video and Gaming 4-Port Wi-Fi Adapter for wireless connections, and the Powerline 500 Nano Adapter Kit for wired connections. The first offers dual-band Wi-Fi, while the second can transfer content at 500MB per second. The N900 will be available in the first quarter of 2012 for $119.99, while the Powerline will be available this summer for $79.99.

Other announcements included the Universal Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender (for eliminating home wireless dead spots), an improvement to the existing Desktop Genie home network management software (users can now access it with iOS and Android apps), and the debut of the Netgear Smart Network cloud app platform, a system that combines networked devices, an intelligent cloud app server, and an open development platform. The range extender is on sale now for $89.99.

Need more home networking speed? Henry told the audience that 802.11ac Wi-Fi is coming this year, bringing 1.35GB per second throughput, and that Netgear was working on its own offerings.

Netgear cleared more than $1 billion in revenue in 2011, Henry said. According to a recent Netgear survey, houses with more than six network-enabled devices increased by 70 percent in 2011, and over half of home network traffic is real-time entertainment. That entertainment traffic is usually handled by non-PC devices, he said. With the rise of streaming entertainment, the home network is facing new demands. Netgear’s announcements were focused on meeting them.

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