At the 2009 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Seagate
unveiled their FreeAgent Theater. This new media player allowed people to enjoy their digital multimedia files on their television without the need for a dedicated computer in their living room, and with minimal effort required to get things setup. We took a look at this product in May 2009 (review link
), and while it did deliver many useful and interesting it features, it just came up a bit short on what one might expect from such a device.
Seagate was apparently listening to the feedback from reviewers and end users, as they have developed a new media player that builds off of the success of the original product, while adding a handful of new features that are sure to increase its appeal.
The new FreeAgent Theater+ is shown in the promotional above, and from this quick look you might not notice much difference with the original FreeAgent Theater. While the aesthetics have been slightly refined, the bulk of the improvements will be found under the hood or around back on the connection panel.
Before taking a closer look at the sample provided for review, let's look at some published data on the Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ media player.
Features and Specifications:
» HDMI with 1080p HD video playback for high-definition content viewing
» Dolby® Digital and DTS™ 2.0 + Digital Out audio support surround sound where available.
» Unique docking system eliminates fumbling with cables and connections
» Ethernet connection for accessing shared content on your network or streaming of content from the Internet
» The optional wireless connectivity feature, expected to be available in October, will allow you to access stored content on any networked computer in the home at your fingertips
» Two additional USB ports and one front-mounted port for digital cameras and additional storage devices
» Simple sync software for PC and Mac® computers
» Intuitive user interface with DVD-style navigation
» Support for Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, Windows® 7, and Mac OS® X operating systems, as well as NTFS, FAT, FAT32, HFS+ file support
» Component video and Composite video support
» Optical S/PDIF audio and Stereo RCA sound options
» 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
» Subtitles: SAMI(smi), SRT and SUB
» 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
As you can see, there are plenty of file formats, and plenty of connection options. To me, the biggest updates over the original FreeAgent Theater include the addition of an HDMI port and a network connection. With an ethernet connection built in, and an optional wireless connection coming soon, you should be able to share media from anywhere on your network and skip the step of syncing with your portable hard drive.