Seagate unveiled their FreeAgent Theatre HD product to a bunch of Aussie journos yesterday to prepare for its launch next month. And while it’s a solid looking, easy to use product, it’s not something that regular Gizmodians are going to want to add to their home theatre setup any time soon.Let’s face it – you probably already watch your downloaded content on your TV through your Xbox 360 or your PS3 over your home network. Even if you don’t there are DLNA devices hitting the market now that encourage that kind of over the air sharing of content. The Seagate dock doesn’t use your network, it requires a FreeAgent HDD or other USB storage device to be synced with your PC, then carried to the Theatre HD dock connected to your TV.
There’s no HDMI on the dock either, so while it can upscale to 1080i through component, there isn’t the simple, single cable solution. Also disappointing is the file support – audio, for example, doesn’t include support for AAC or Apple lossless, which is incredible considering the number of people who would have their music encoded in this way.
There are a couple of really cool features that do make it stand out though, like the ability to zoom in and pan on a video during playback, and the fact that it is firmware upgradeable. But for the geeks among us (which is pretty much everyone, let’s be honest), this isn’t going to be the ideal solution, despite its attractive $199 price tag. It might suit your mum or grandma, but then you’re going to have to train them how to copy files onto an external drive to make the most of it.