We’ve had VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray but I think the next big step forward is surely towards the world of the hard drive, and as they increase in number, ability and prominence and decrease in price and number of potential problems then we can expect to see them being accepted more and more.
And so the scene is nicely set for the LaCie LaCinema Classic HD which was released this week and boasts all of the features you would expect from as top of the range model including things like full High Definition playback, networking capabilities and the potential to act as a Home Media Server.
The first of these is pretty obvious given that it states that in the name but assuming that you have a HD capable TV you will want to make the most of it, and with 1080p playback this could well be the thing for you – and the Dolby Digital sound is also there to make the most of your expensive sound system as well!
Secondly you’ve got the networking capabilities – there are essentially two different (main) ways you can use a Multimedia Hard Drive and although the vast majority can do both. You can connect it up to your PC directly (either physically or via a home network) and then literally drag and drop your media onto it (in the same way you would for an external hard drive) allowing you to play your music, videos or pictures instantly via your TV.
Obviously the fact that you can do all this over a network is a big advantage as it makes the whole process a lot easier and with the UPnP/DLNA capabilities of the LaCinema, but these also facilitate the other option which is to use the LaCinema to play media that is currently stored on other devices via the network.
All of this is great news if you are the sort of person that has files all over the place, and with the significant range of formats that are compatible you shouldn’t have any problems no matter what form they’re in. This ability to act as a Media Server extends across PCs and Macs and also to certain consoles – i.e. the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 allowing you easily stream content over to them.
Of course if you do choose to use it to store all your media then you will be wanting a significant amount of space and the 1Tb offered will be enough for all but the most active film ‘watcher’ but the USB ports offered (one on the front for easy access) allow you to easily expand this if necessary, and to easily upload pictures, music and videos from cameras, MP3 Players and the like!
It doesn’t look too bad either with small blue lights on the underside giving it an almost extra-terrestrial like appearance, and it this that saves it from the otherwise run of the mill black gloss box. The designer Neil Poulton is continually mentioned, but as nice and sleek as it looks it is still essentially a black box with light, but so long as that fits in with your colour scheme I can’t see anyone minding!
Finally we have the crunch point: the price. At around £100-150, the LaCie LaCinema Classic HD is far from expensive, and it easily comparable with Blu-Ray players, but unlike Blu-Ray unless you are the sort of person who is active on the internet and is quite happy to wait for films to download then it is a lot less convenient and until we see the price slip further I don’t think we’ll be seeing these in the mainstream.
This is a shame really considering what this offers, it’s certainly a lot cheaper than the Dell Inspiron Zino HD that we recently featured – and it is a very good example of a 1080p Home Hard Drive Media Center Server from LaCie – but I’m sure that within the field of people that will be able to make best use of it, it will be popular!
Via – TechRadar