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Good Deal Storage/Media Player?

I've discussed media servers using Playstation 3 or Personal computers.  The market does have affordable option available for those who want a simple solution with minimal configuration, HD Media players/External Drives.  This technology has improved greatly in the last 2 years.  The options/connectivity that they possess now makes them a solid method of playing any and all media from photos to HD .mkv files on your home network.

Ive just picked a couple here to review as there are a lot of options.  In the beginning, I always questioned the life of these drives however, I've had a few different models and abused all of them equally.  It seems the price has made no difference in life with the drives I've purchased in the past.  The one drastic difference from my personal experience is the speed at which they perform and transfer data at.  Depending on how much data you're planning on moving on/off these drives at a time, speed may make no difference.  Now days though thankfully, price appears to be a matter of timing-not quality.

Seagate FreeAgent Theater Plus

 This model supports every format thats required to play any HD media as you can see below as well as providing the ability to access internet content such as pictures, weather, stocks, and more(this is restricted however by an interface that doesn't allow you to freely surf the web).  They did recently get a firmware update giving it the ability to use Netflix.  It also has a USB port to connect your camera or another drive to access from your television.  This drive only having 500gb its almost guaranteed eventually you'll need more storage space if you're storing HD media.  Seagate does make extenders with extra disk space but this product would definitely get one started.

Video Formats * MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (DivX /Xvid), DivX HD, Xvid HD, AVI, MOV, MKV, RMVB, AVC HD, H.264, WMV9, VC-1, M2TS, TS/TP/M2T
Video resolutions * NTSC 480i/480p, PAL 576i/576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Audio *AAC, MP3, Dolby® Digital, DTS, ASF, FLAC, WMA, LPCM, ADPCM, WAV, OGG
Playlist * M3U, PLS
Photo * JPEG files up to 20 megapixels, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF

(specs all from seagate.com) 



I have a Lacie drive as well so I had look at their HD Media Players as well.

Lacie Mini HD Connect 

While this drive looks slick and possess all the same features as the Seagate Freeagent Theater Plus. 1 GB (Yes 1GB storage).  This means you'll require another drive right away or have your computer sitting next to it (seeing as you're looking at an HD Media player, its likely you don't want to do this or you would have just bought and HD video card)   Lacie really sells this product until you read the specs.  WI-FI is what initially caught my eye.

These HD media players are designed by storage companies for those who don't want to play with installations, software/hardware and essentially want to plug it in and press play.  As I had previously mentioned, the tech has improved quite quickly making them HD capable and they can perform this function for many of those less tech savy individuals.  I was thinking about getting one of these for my woman ;)