Updates on the Netgear NTV 550by Ganesh T S on May 7, 2011 6:14 AM EST
Netgear already has a list of bugs to be fixed from user submissions on their forum. They indicated that they are prioritizing the issues to be fixed in future firmware versions. As for the firmware release schedule, the next firmware version is supposed to come out in late June, followed by another in September. The June release is supposed to take care of bug fixes, while the September release would add more features (though what these feature would be were not indicated to me).
Netgear has also starter a uservoice site for the NeoTV 550. This tool is supposed to help them manage the suggestions, get meaningful feedback in a shorter amount of time, and streamline/ prioritize future bug fixes and improvements.
I was quite interested in finding out how the NTV 550 was faring in the market. Netgear indicated that the response in the EU and Australian markets was very good and surpassed the US sales by a large margin. This is indicative of the fact that the US market (unfortunately, if you ask me) is moving to more OTT based media streamers.
Personally, I feel that Netflix, Vudu and other VOD providers are good for casual users, and physical media backups are the only way to enjoy full HD content in the way it was intended. The NTV 550 was supposed to enable users in this area at a sweet price point (it is much cheaper than the Dune series which is comparable feature wise), but its potential remains unfulfilled. Whether future firmware releases will help in this regard remains to be seen.
It has to be noted that the Dune series (which has been praised in many other review sites) didn't turn into a great media player overnight. It is only logical that Netgear be given a few more months to iron out the issues in the NTV 550. Till then, potential buyers should wait and watch how the June firmware fares in our final review before pulling the trigger.