Hard drive specialist Seagate has moved into HDTV with the FreeAgent Theatre HD Media Player, which tackles the problem of how to watch media files from your PC on your TV.

Designed primarily to work with Seagate's FreeAgent Go portable hard drives, the Media Player is also compatible with other portable USB media devices.

Launched at the CES in Las Vegas, the Media Player sits next to your TV and acts as a dock for the portable hard drive. On sale from March, it will be available as a stand-alone unit for use with any USB storage device, or a complete solution with a FreeAgent Go portable drive included.

"Consumers are awakening to the fact that the PC isn't the best place to store or view their photos and videos", said Chris Chute, research manager for IDC.

"Over time the living room and robust storage solutions will go hand-in-hand to facilitate the next-generation of sharing memories."

According to IDC's digital imaging research, consumers the world over capture and archive over 15 billion gigabytes of digital photos and video every year, most of which is primarily viewed and stored on the home computer.

Quarter of consumers

However, according to a recent survey by Parks Associates, more than a quarter of consumers are interested in accessing personal content – such as photos and music – directly on the TV, while nearly a third of respondents expressed interest in being able to view movies and other PC-hosted video through the TV.

The Seagate Media Player has a simple user interface with DVD-like controls to select and display files in formats including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 , DIVX up to 1080i resolution, MP3, WMA, WAV and OGG. Connections to the TV include composite, S-video, component video and audio inputs.

Seagate also announced at CES a new range of Pipeline purpose-built hard drives for Digital Video Recorders, including the world's first 2.5-inch drive engineered specifically for use in DVRS, with 160GB and 250GB capacities, while the Pipeline HD.2 3.5-inch drive is available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities.

From HCC at CES 2009