From the "Welcome to Network Setup" screen, shown in Figure 3, you will see that there are two different paths to choose from when setting up the box.
Figure 3: Initial Setup
The first path is for users that have an Intel Viiv certified computer. The Windows version I was using (XP Home) had no such certification, so I took the non-Viiv path. One of the first steps was to get networking configured, but when it came time to set up my wired connection, I only got errors indicating that I had no cable plugged in. This was a bit frustrating, since the box was plugged into a known-good Ethernet cable. But to move on, I opted instead for configuring the wireless connection.
I found later that my problem was that the Uplink button next to the Ethernet port was incorrectly set. Since auto MDI / MDI-X (also known as "auto-uplink") ports are becoming pretty much standard on consumer networking products these days, it's curious that Netgear didn't design the EVA700 with one. These Ethernet ports automatically sense the type of connection needed and cable used and adjust accordingly until they properly connect. Given the target market of the EVA700, it's odd that Netgear didn't include this feature.
Figure 4: Wireless Setup
For wireless security (Figure 4), the EVA700 supports WEP encryption and WPA / WPA2-PSK security. Setup was straightforward for the most part, but it was a real pain to enter my 26-character encryption key with a remote that used the cell phone style character entry. Each character that you enter will be displayed as a "*" so you should keep track of which characters you're on so you don't lose track and have to start over.
Setting Up, Continued
Once I had the network up and running, I ran the Windows-only installation software provided by Netgear. Figure 5 shows the initial setup screen running on my XP system.
Figure 5: Software Installation
The Netgear portion of the installation was minimal. It really just starts an installation and setup of Microsoft's UPnP-based Windows Media Connect package. Figure 6 shows the setup at a step where user-chosen media folders can be selected for exporting to network devices. Using this screen I picked the directories where I had content to share.
Two of the directories I chose were network shares from some of my Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. The configuration menu allowed me to choose these network shares without giving me an error messages, but I found out later that none of the media from those shares were exported.
Figure 6: Media Connect Setup
Once the software was configured, and my XP firewall was updated to allow Windows Media Connect to access the network, I turned back to my TV. I found the new server listed as an available resource (shown in Figure 7). The name shown for the server was a bit verbose, but I couldn't find a way to assign a new name.
Figure 7: Top Level Menu
Using the software-based server worked fine with the EV700, but it means you'll have to leave a computer running in order to play any files other than Internet radio stations. On my network, I tend to use a lot of Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices for my digital media. These devices are usually quiet, power-efficient and flexible and you don't need a full-fledged computer running to make use of them. Fortunately, the EVA700 supports the UPnP AV standard, and UPnP servers are becoming common features on many NAS products on the market.
For my testing, I tried a Twonkyvision server on my NSLU2, a server on a Maxtor Shared Storage Media Server, and a server on a Synology DS-101. All worked fine and had nearly indistinguishable behavior from the EVA700's bundled server. I did find that at least once, however, I had to unplug and re-plug the power cord on the EVA700 in order for new servers to show up in the top-level menu. Note that the Twonkyvision UPnP server is also available on the Macintosh, so if you're a Mac-user, you'll be able to use the EVA700.
I also found that the power button on the unit just turned the display output off, it didn't really power the unit up and down so to really reset it, puling the power was required. And speaking of power, my power-meter showed the device drew about 4 watts, so it was pretty efficient.