Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seagate launches FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player, we go hands-on

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/15/seagate-launches-freeagent-theater-hd-media-player-we-go-hands/

Remember when Seagate introduced its Betamax-esque FreeAgent Theater HD way back at CES this year? Of course not -- you were locked onto the Palm Pre keynote. At any rate, the next generation of that very device somehow made it through the product development stage and now sits in our very hands, and we have to say, it's no more modern in person than it is in press shots. Equipped with the usual assortment of ports (HDMI, component, composite, Toslink, Ethernet and two USB) ports, the FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player gets all of its content from a FreeAgent Go USB 2.0 hard drive (sold separately or in a bundle) or whatever you shove into those USB sockets. You can count on 1080p output and a pretty standard UI, and while it's wired-or-die right now, Seagate's hoping to pop out a USB WiFi adapter ($69.99) for it next month.

We've yet to really put this player through its paces, but we can say for sure that it's not made for abuse. The mostly-plastic box is staggeringly light, and one drop from atop your AV rack could lead to utter disaster. Furthermore, this is really only useful for those wound tightly around Seagate's finger; the bulk of its functionality relies on having a FreeAgent USB drive at your disposal, and if you've selected any other portable HDD, you'll have to deal with connecting it the old fashion way and ditching the "clean look." At $149.99 sans an HDD, it's one of the cheaper options on the market, but it still can't beat Popcorn Hour's heralded lineup when it comes to value and format support. Those looking for an all-in-one deal can opt for the $289.99 bundle, which throws in a 500GB FreeAgent Go drive. Have a look at retro ex! emplifie d in the gallery below.

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Seagate launches FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player, we go hands-on originally appeared on Engadget! on Tue, 15 Sep 2009 09:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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