Jan 05, 2010

Seagate to Add Internet-Based Services and New Features to FreeAgent Theater+™ HD Media Player

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (CES), Seagate (NASDAQ: STX), announced plans to collaborate with content and technology providers, including YouTube, vTuner and Mediafly, and deliver access to an even larger pool of both user-generated and licensed Internet media directly on the company’s FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player. Seagate also introduced new firmware updates for FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player to enhance and improve the enjoyment of locally stored and Internet-accessible content on the television.

According to a recent report conducted by the University of California, San Diego and other sponsors¹, Americans consume information an average of 12 hours per day — 41 per cent of which is spent watching TV (including DVDs, recorded TV and real-time viewing). This equates to Americans consuming an average of 34GB of information a day -- or 1TB of information a month or 12TB a year -- primarily in their living room.

“Consumers today have much of their digital life — family photographs, home videos and music libraries — locked away in PCs,” said Carl Howe, Director, Anywhere Consumer Research, Yankee Group. “Devices that can present those digital memories in a comfortable living room environment as well as connect to burgeoning Internet content are those that will delight today’s Anywhere consumers.”

Seagate’s FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player allows people to enjoy collections of photos, movies and music saved on a FreeAgent Go™ portable drive or any other USB-connected storage device. The Ethernet port and optional wireless adapter on the media player allow for local network access and streaming of content, as well as connecting directly to various video feeds, including YouTube, the Internet’s largest library of user-generated videos.

Exploiting Mediafly’s sophisticated content delivery platform, the FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player will also enable access to a wide selection of personalised podcasts and web programmes ranging from news, sports, comedy and pop culture to technology, and more. Mediafly provides 7 million episodes of content, covering virtually any topic, from across the globe. Additionally, people who use the vTuner application, which delivers access to more than 14,000 radio stations globally, will be able to choose from an array of live and on-demand terrestrial and Internet-only radio content.

With the latest, free, automated firmware update, FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player is UPnP/DLNA compliant, enabling access and sharing of digital content using any DLNA compliant device on a network. Additionally, FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player owners can take advantage of special pricing for PlayOn software, which makes it easy and affordable to watch Internet video — including Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon VOD and more — on their living room TV. They can go online to www.PlayOn.TV to download the full-featured free trial of PlayOn to their Windows PC, which is automatically detected by their networked FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player, to enjoy movies, TV programmes and videos from the Internet on TV today.

Improved User Interface and Additional Features: Easy Navigation and Usability

Following in its tradition of allowing consumers to sit back, relax, point, click and enjoy as digitally captured memories and favourite movies come to life, the FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player will include user interface and feature enhancements for video, photo and music navigation. The new capabilities will include:

  • Redesigned homepage view featuring better access to Internet applications
  • Redesigned thumbnail view for easier browsing of movies, pictures and music
  • Skip time option when watching movies to jump forward by 20 minute intervals
  • Ability to create screensavers using personal photos
  • Easy sorting of files when browsing network attached devices
  • UTF 16 character support
  • Ability to skip by 1,000 items for faster browsing of files
  • WMA Pro audio support, which enables sound for a majority of high definition WMV files

Support for Even More File Formats

Seagate today announced plans to also incorporate DivX Plus™ HD certification into the FreeAgent Theater+™ HD media player. DivX Plus HD certification is the premium level of certification from DivX, providing consumers with a highly comprehensive digital media solution for enjoying high-quality standard definition and high definition Internet video from the PC to the TV and beyond. Adding to the already extensive list of supported audio/video and sound formats², the FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player also now supports Motion JPEG movie files, commonly used by digital cameras.

Technical Specifications

Those who have already purchased a FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player will automatically receive the new feature enhancements and capabilities if the media player is connected to the Internet using the Ethernet port on the back of the device or the optional USB wireless adapter. If the FreeAgent Theater+ HD media player is not connected to the Internet, a copy of the new firmware encompassing the latest additions can be downloaded by visiting the Home Entertainment Downloads section of Seagate.com. Select features, including Mediafly, vTuner and the redesigned user interface, will be made available via a firmware update in the first quarter of calendar year 2010.

About Seagate
Seagate is the worldwide leader in hard disc drives and storage solutions. Learn more at http://www.seagate.com.

© 2010 Seagate Technology LLC. All rights reserved. Seagate, Seagate Technology, the Wave logo, FreeAgent, FreeAgent Go and FreeAgent Theater+ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Seagate reserves the right to change, without notice, product offerings or specifications.

¹ “How Much Information? 2009: Report on American Consumers”, Roger E. Bohn and James E. Short, Global Information Industry Center, University of California, San Diego.

² Existing video formats supported include MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (DivX ® /Xvid formats), DivX HD, Xvid HD, AVI, MOV, MKV, RMVB, AVC HD, H.264, WMV9, VC-1, M2TS, TS/TP/M2T, JPEG files up to 20 megapixels, BMP, GIF, PNG and TIFF. Existing supported audio formats include 5.1 channel surround sound, where available, and popular digital audio formats including: AAC, MP3, Dolby Digital, DTS, ASF, FLAC, WMA, LPCM, ADPCM, WAV and OGG.