With hard drives prices in an extraordinary slump (we saw 2TB desktop drives go for $130 this holiday season) Iomega has been focusing less on larger boxes to pile data in, and more on ways to get at it all. On Monday, the company announced both a new line of streaming set-top boxes and a device to easily put USB storage devices on a network.
The Iomega HD Media Player line resembles similar offerings from competitors like Netgear and Western Digital by offering consumers easy access to their photos, videos and music from a simple set-top box, along with access to Roxio’s CinemaNow Internet rental service.
The line is comprised of three models: the Director, Plus, and Link. The top-of-the-line Director offers 1TB of built-in storage, three USB ports for adding more (or a Wi-Fi adapter), full 1080p output via HDMI, plus compatibility with online sites like YouTube and Flickr. The Plus also offers 1TB, but drops video output to 720p/1080i, offers only one USB port, and eliminates many of the online frills. Both players support popular video codecs like DivX and Xvid, along with some obscure container types like .vob files. The smallest option, Link, offers no onboard storage, just a USB port and network access. The Plus is available immediately for $169, the Director will debut later this month for $249, and the Link will appear by the end of the quarter priced at $129.
Back on the storage end, Iomega’s iConnect Wireless Data Station will allow users to tap existing USB storage devices like portable hard drives and thumb drives and turn them into always-on network storage. The device includes four USB ports for tying in storage devices and allows owners to access their contents from the Web, download torrents to them without a PC, and even copy files from one to another. It will retail for $99 starting in February.
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