[This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Wendy, comment #12. Thanks for entering!]
I’d always assumed that WiFi routers were all pretty much the same: just get the latest one from a known brand name, and you’re good to go. We’ve been using one from our cable company that’s very new. It worked fine, as far as we could tell.
Our main TV, a Samsung, connects to the internet via WiFi. We can access Netflix, Vudu, and lots of other services. The picture is always good. The only problem is that we never hooked it up to our surround sound system (and it would be hard to do at this point), so while the TV’s sound is very good, it’s not surround sound good.
This is why we usually end up watching Netflix through the XBox, which also connects to the internet via WiFi. Only problem with that is, after a few minutes of playing an HD movie or show, it drops down to non-HD. I searched the internet for a solution, and most message boards and reviews discussing my particular situation said the same thing: XBox throttles the signal. I had no idea why Microsoft would do that, but it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do about it. So, we choose between excellent sound, or excellent picture.
Last month I went to an event about video streaming hosted by Techlicious, where Western Digital showed us several products, including the WD TV Live that I’m giving away in this post, and the My Net N900 HD dual-band router.
Something in the presentation about the router struck me, a feature called FasTrack that detects when an internet signal is carrying entertainment, like a movie or online gaming, and makes that signal a priority. If all of the signals are being treated equal – the one intermittently checking my email on the same level as a Netflix movie – you can get a lot of buffering or freezing, or – and this is where I got really interested – a lower-quality picture.
I wondered if this could be the problem with our XBox streaming. Was it just the signal, and not XBox?
I hooked the router up over the weekend, and the installation guide the router displayed on my computer made the process very quick and easy. I connected it to our modem, then to our main computer, and then set up a WiFi passcode and got to work testing it out.
The first thing I noticed was that every device in the house had one more bar than with the previous router. Our house is large – four floors – and the modem and router are on the third floor. The fact that I’m getting five out of five signal bars right now on the first floor is kind-of amazing.
Next I turned on the TV and the XBox, and picked an HD movie (Drive, if you were wondering). I started the movie and watched for twenty minutes, long after the picture would normally have gone down to non-HD. But it was still crisp and clear! I couldn’t believe it! I had been blaming the XBox all this time, when it was actually the signal!
There are many other great features as well. There are seven ethernet ports and two USB ports, so that you can connect a large number of other devices and storage. If you hook up a My Book Live storage device, you can create your own personal cloud storage solution for all of your media (I’ll be reviewing that next). You can also hook up a non-Wifi printer to the router, and using WD’s Print Share software print from any other computer on the network.
We’ve had the router up and running for five days now without a glitch. We’ve watched movies all the way through and there hasn’t been a bit of buffering or picture degradation. And of course, it’s doing the other things that a router should be doing as well. I’m extremely happy with the My Net N900.
I’m thrilled that I also get to give one of these routers away. They sell for $179.99 right now on Amazon, which is a great price for all that you get, but one of you will win your very own! Just leave a comment on this post saying what you would use it for. (You must answer this question for your entry to qualify. Simply writing “I want it!” or something like that does not get you entered.) I’ve already been using it to stream movies and TV on one TV while my husband is playing XBox Live on another and the kids are watching Netflix on a tablet.
For a second entry, you can tweet about the contest with a link back to this post. The tweet must contain “@SelfishMom” (but should not start with it). Or, you can just copy and paste this:
Want to win an awesome HD streaming router? @SelfishMom is giving one away worth $180! http://slf.sh/KAbLrx
Make sure to leave a second comment with a link to your tweet, or it won’t count (instructions on how to find and post the url of your tweet can be found here).
That’s two entries per household, please. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter, and prize can only be shipped within the continental US. This contest will close at noon-ish on Wednesday, June 27th.
The winner will be chosen by random.org approximately 24 hours after the contest closes; the winner will be emailed and the winner’s name will be posted at the top of this post once the winner is verified. It is each entrant’s responsibility to make sure that their entry appears in the comment section, and to contact me before the drawing if there is a problem. Entries that do not follow the rules stated in this post will not be approved. See my complete Giveaway Rules page for more information.
Good luck, and stop by again tomorrow Monday ? when I’ll be reviewing and giving away another great Western Digital product! [Update: So here’s the deal: after the first two products were so easy to hook up and use, My Book Live caused me some problems. It took me a while to figure out. But I’ve got it working now, and will get the review and giveaway up as soon as I can. Sorry for the delay.]
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 10. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.