Iomega's latest Screenplay HD storage device initially looks an attractive option for those with a requirement for substantial AV storage.

The diminutive 500GB unit hooks up directly to your display or AV system, via composite AV, component (through a supplied minijack adaptor), HDMI or old-fashioned Scart, and allows immediate playback of files via a simple GUI, without you having to boot up a PC. However, despite the HD monicker, it's really just an SD device with delusions of grandeur.

File includes MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI/VOB), MPEG-4 (AVI/DiVX 3.11, 4.x, 5.x/XViD) and JPEGs. However, it cocks a snook at HD format-favourite MKV and turns a deaf ear to audiophile codec FLAC. Ask it to play a 1080i or 720p h.264 file and it'll not even recognize that it's sitting on the drive.

Use the hi-def outputs and you can choose video settings from 480i/480p/720p/1080i. However, the upscaler onboard is functional at best.

Highs

The unit is well built, with a solid enclosure that contains the whine of the drive reasonably well. Standard-def video files play out fine and MP3 and WAV playback is without incident. The device is also relatively inexpensive considering the drive capacity.

Lows

It can't be used as a NAS client, as it lacks any network support. There's no HDMI lead supplied and video upscaling performance is basic.

The interface of the Iomega Screenplay HD is as simple as it gets; a list of file names in the lowest possible resolution.