New HD Media Centre That Eliminates A PC

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If you are fed up with Vista Media Centre or Apple TV and want something far more simple to manage your content Western Digital has rolled out a new media player that connects to a HD TV via a HDMI cable and allows content to be accessed directly from an external storage device. This elimates the need for a PC says the storage Company.

The device that looks like a set top box eliminates the need for networking equipment or even a PC. It has two USB drives and can deliver 1080p content direct ot a TV screen. Access to the WD interface is via a remote control that allows users to navigate via the on-screen menu. The device is designed for the company’s My Passport portable drive, which ships in capacities up to 500 GB. However, WD has made the player compatible with third-party products, including other USB drives, digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices.

For connecting to a digital TV, the Media Player includes an HDMI port which can also be used to connect directly to a  Blu-ray  player and video-game consoles. The player ships with ArcSoft Media Converter 2.5 software, which converts content into file formats usable through the device. The TV Media Player is expected to sell for around $195.00 and includes a one-year limited warranty.

In entering the media player business, WD is looking to boost sales of its own storage devices by giving people another reason to move content from their PCs to an external drive the Company said. Research Company IDC, claims nearly 334 million GB of photos and 3.1 billion GB of video will be stored on consumer PCs this year. By 2010, those numbers are expected to increase to 400 million GB and 5.8 billion GB, respectively.

WD’s device offers an alternative to products such as Apple TV, which connects to a digital TV and can play content streamed wirelessly or through a wired connection from a Mac or Windows PC with Apple’s iTunes software.

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