by Anton Shilov
11/03/2008 | 12:17 PM
Western Digital, a leading maker of hard disk drives (HDDs), on Monday unveiled its first ever digital media player. The WD TV HD media player supports audio playback as well as video playback in up to full-HD (1920x1080, 1080p) resolution. The novelty naturally does not have an optical drive, but supports various USB storage devices, including My Passport external HDDs and flash-based memory sticks.
“As leaders in external storage, we have become the trusted brand for storing and backing up large media collections for consumers around the world. Our best-selling My Passport portable drives help customers carry their media library with them anywhere but until now, there has been no easy, affordable way to access and play all that content in their living rooms. The WD TV HD Media Player effectively unlocks all that content from the storage device and lets people enjoy it on their biggest screen and best sound system,” said Jim Welsh, senior vice president and general manager for WD’s branded products and consumer electronics groups.
Western Digital’s TV HD media player connects to an external hard drive or flash memory drive using USB 2.0 port and supports a variety of audio (MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF and MKA), video (MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, AVI [MPEG4, Xvid, AVC], H.264, MKV, MOV [MPEG4, H.264]) as well as picture formats (JPEG, GIF, TIF/TIFF, BMP, PNG). The device comes with a remote controller, hence, end user experience should not be different from usage of typical consumer electronics players. WD’s TV high-definition media player supports HDMI and RCA connectors for improved compatibility with TV-sets. Besides, WD bundles ArcSoft MediaConverter 2.5 software to easily convert photo, video, and music files into formats optimized for use on the device.
According to research firm IDC, nearly 334 million GB of photos and more than 3.1 billion GB of video will be stored on consumer desktop and laptop computers in 2008. The research firm expects that to increase to 400 million GB and 5.8 billion GB, respectively, by 2010. These large personal digital libraries are all but trapped on users' computers. In order to play their content on their TV, consumers have struggled with clumsy solutions such as copying onto multiple CDs and DVDs or connecting their PCs to their TV via wires or complicated home networking solutions. The WD TV HD Media Player enables consumers to easily access their content on large HDTV screens.
The WD TV HD media player is available now at select retailers and WD's online store. Manufacturer suggested retail price for device is $129.99.