Setup - more
An interesting new feature that I found while exploring the admin menus is the Network Test function. Selecting it launches a throughput test between the EVA9 and each of your selected shares. The test cycles continuously until you cancel it.
Note that this test actually appears to measure a combination of network speed and share performance. Both the PC and ReadyNAS NV+ in Figure 8 below connect via gigabit switches to the EVA9. But the NV+ serves files more slowly than my Core 2 Duo E4400 desktop, which is reflected in the almost 2X difference between the two "network connection" test results. Still, this can be a handy feature for setting up or troubleshooting a network connection.
Figure 8: Network test
The admin functions also include a set of Hard Drive Tools shown in Figure 9. The Manage data on disk feature includes copy, move and delete functions and is one way to copy files over to the internal drive. However, if you enable the File Sharing feature (More > Supervisor functions > Advanced Settings > Power and Hard Drive), which is disabled by default, you'll be able to drag and drop files directly between your computer and the EVA9's drive.
Figure 9: Hard Drive Tools
Feature Tour - Video
As I noted earlier, the EVA9 can do everything that the EVA8000 does, but without requiring a companion PC to access YouTube and other Internet content. The supported video "containers" and codecs supported are a bit fuzzy, because the information on the datasheet and online KB (which is where the user manual sends you) don't match. So this information is from the online KB document.
Supported video "container" formats are AVI, DivX, Xvid WMV, MOV, VOB, MPG, MP1, MP2, MP4, ISO, IFO, M4V, TS, M2TS, MKV and MKA. While MP1/2/4, Xvid, VC-1/WMV-9, H.264, OpenDivX codecs are all supported "to 1080p". But, take it from me, the only way to know whether the EVA9, or any other media player, will support your files is to try it out. Unfortunately, if things don't work out, you'll end up paying a 15% "restock" fee for the experiment.
Content can be viewed by title, genre, artist or you can browse by folder. The Cover Art view (Figure 10) showed only demo content that NETGEAR had pre-loaded onto the internal drive. Getting this view requires using the Tag Tool application that is part of the Digital Entertainer for Windows collection to link in the cover art.
Figure 10: Cover Art Browser
I don't have an extensive video library, with most of it consisting of Quicktime / H.264 test movie trailers downloaded from Apple's trailer site. But I do have some AVI files from a Canon SD200 digicam and a ripped standard-def DVD that I use as part of my NAS test suite.
I used the folder-based view of my videos, which was serviceable, although not as visually enticing. Unlike Jim's experience with the EVA8000, my ripped DVD, which was in a folder, played just like a normal DVD with selection menus intact. And the 720p H.264 trailers that caused stuttering when played with the EVA8000 played flawlessly. I even tried 1080p / 24 trailers that also played without a hitch.
But, just like the EVA8000, the EVA9 choked when I tried to play the AVI files from my Canon camera. There isn't anything exotic about the files (640 x 480 MJPG, 30 fps), but I got errors each time I tried to play them.