“We’re a storage company,” said Seagate’s executive director of product marketing, Jon van Bronkhorst, “but with this product, we can help customers walk storage into the living room.”
The product: Seagate’s FreeAgent Theater HD Media Player, which began shipping this spring and is the first product in a line that he says make the viewing of stored video, movies and photos on a TV a no-brainer.
“It’s all about the experience – and about the interface,” he said in describing the $129 system, which just began shipping. The Windows XP and Vista-compatible system can be used as a standalone unit with any USB storage device, or with a FreeAgent Go portable drive of either 250GB or 500GB ($129 or $299, respectively) that docks into the player, which in turn plugs into a TV via a composite, component or S-Video connection.
“Our goal with this product,” said van Bronkhorst, “is extraction of pictures and other content from a storage device, but in an social way. It gets people thinking in a different way about how an external hard drive can be used.” He pointed out that the docking design eliminates the need for cables or complicated network setups. Moreover, he added, its cosmetics and DVD-style remote make it suited to the living room.
Right now, the system is available in select retail outlets and on the Seagate web site, but van Bronkhorst said there will be another permutation of the product coming this year, along with an expansion in distribution through other retailers.