The NETGEAR Stora: A Hub for All of Your Media
When I think of NETGEAR, I usually think of storage for IT professionals and businesses, not for the average home. The NETGEAR Stora is specifically made home users to store music, movies, photos etc. and share that data in a web browser interface via your home network. I have A LOT of music - about 16 thousand songs and counting. I have them all stored on my MacBook Pro and on an external hard drive in the case of a hard drive fail. I don't really need the storage aspect of the Stora, but what I do need is a way to play that music all over my apartment. If I have a party or just want to play music in my living room, I have to drag out my laptop, connect it to my tv and try to hide the cords and laptop all behind my TV stand. If I download a show from iTunes, I have to do the same thing all over again. I also love to multitask while watching TV and if my laptop is stuck next to my TV to play a show, it can be a real pain. The Stora solves these media consumption problems for me making it quite the lifesaver. Music The Stora was easy to set up. When trying out the install CD, I noticed I couldn't use Google Chrome with the device, which was disappointing, but I moved along to Firefox. First goal - get my music to stream to my TV wirelessly. It took a while, but my songs were soon streaming along through the embedded iTunes server. It worked just as expected, with easy navigation.
Movies I tried watching some movies and they streamed perfectly! The black interface with white typeface throughout the software was appealing to look at. I've seen some Microsoft OS in blue displayed on TVs similarly and the Stora interface was definitely better looking.
Photos This was the feature I was least excited about - I don't particularly view my own photos very often and don't find it necessary to view them streaming on a big screen, but the layout was nice. You get a free 30-day trial of "premium services" including support for Flickr and Cooliris. After 30 days, you have to pay $19.99/year. I don't need to view my photos in a 3D wall on the big screen often enough to purchase the premium services, so I'm surprised they're even charging for it.
Requirements Systems: Windows Vista, XP Home or Pro, Mac OSX, Linux Router and broadband connection Web Browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0+, Netscape Navigator 7.0, Safari 1.22+, or Mozilla Firefox 1.03+
Overview For what I was looking for - streaming my music and movies wherever I wanted - this device was perfect. I can now download music immediately to my computer and play it throughout my apartment without all of the hassle. If you have too many devices to handle and consume quite a bit of media, the Stora is for you!