Western Digital

Small, square, sub-$100 black boxes dominate streaming internet-television devices in the US, in the shape of Apple TV and Roku’s LT, XS, XD and HD boxes.

There’s no shame then in Western Digital imitating this successful formula in launching today the WD TV Play - the latest variation of its WD TV lineup of content-streaming set-top boxes. Read more

Toshiba has confined its consumer storage offerings to its Canvio line of portable hard drives and external desktop drives to date, but the Canvio Personal Cloud unveiled on Thursday at the IFA show in Berlin sees the brand breaking out into network-attached storage (NAS) in the home.

The concept is around storing personal files in the “cloud” in the home rather than in a remote data centre that can mean subscription fees and slow uploads and downloads. The Canvio device, in 2Tb or 3Tb internal hard drive sizes, hooks up to a spare ethernet connection on the wireless router in the home to provide both local and remote connectivity. Read more

The leading hard drive makers seem set on reinventing themselves – extending not just their storage capacities but their product lines as well.

Seagate announced Backup Plus, a drive that can also backup media on your social networks, on Monday and it is in the process of acquiring the premium drive maker LaCie.

Now Western Digital is taking on the likes of Linksys and Netgear with a complete lineup of routers it claims will usher in a “new era of blazing fast HD entertainment streaming”. Read more

The problems for the global PC supply chain caused by the flooding in Thailand are slowly receding, if not as fast as the floodwaters themselves.

Western Digital, the hard-disk drive maker hardest hit, said on Monday it was continuing to ramp HDD production and had resumed manufacturing on Sunday of sliders – a key component where the heads that read and write to a disk are mounted. Slider operations had been suspended since October 10. Read more

Western Digital this week made its WD TV Live internet media player more competitive with the likes of Apple TV, Roku and the Logitech Revue, adding more hardware features, new content channels including the Spotify music service and pitching it at a lower price.

This category of small set-top boxes seems up against it compared to the more integrated efforts of internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles, but they keep fighting back with lower prices, improved interfaces and imaginative additions to their services. Read more

My geeky New Year resolutions for 2011 are the same as 2010 – back up my stuff, digitise content, clean out my computer and centralise my media.

At least this year, I have a few more tools to review and help me finally achieve this – namely a Drobo S, a Western Digital My Book Live external drive, an Eye-Fi Pro X2 memory card, iolo’s System Mechanic 10 software and the MiCorder. Read more

With Google TV coming to screens near you in the autumn, internet-enabled television is set to attract a lot  of eyeballs.

For those that cannot wait for the Google/Sony/Logitech/Intel product, there are already plenty of set-top box options for streaming movies and adding internet content channels to your TV. We explore some of these in the Personal Technology column in Friday’s Business Life section of the FT. Read more

With Western Digital and Seagate Technology fighting a neck-and-neck battle to be the world’s leading hard-drive maker, Hitachi is appearing as a dark horse in third with a new range of external drive products.

Its LifeStudio series, available in stores from Friday, is its first foray into more consumer-friendly products and includes some unusual hardware and software features. Read more

Seagate Technology and Western Digital are two Californian companies that dominate the global hard drive market and are in constant, close competition with one another.

Western Digital overtook Seagate in the first three months of 2010 in hard drive shipments for the very first time on a quarterly basis, according to a recent iSuppli report. On Wednesday, it unveiled its latest attempt to challenge it in the media player category, with the WD TV Live Plus HD. Read more

External hard drives and their new flexibility are the subject of this week’s Personal Technology column in the Business Life section of the FT:

“I have been testing a new 500Gb portable hard drive, the FreeAgent GoFlex Pro from Seagate, which brings the concept of modular design to data storage and enables each drive to be customised to a user’s changing requirements by selecting from an array of cables and desktop adapters.”

 Read more

While Apple figures out what to do with its languishing Apple TVit quietly dropped its 40Gb model on Monday leaving only the 160Gb version – there are plenty of other contenders scrapping to bring networked content to the big living-room screen.

Among them – FreeAgent Theater+, announced by Seagate today as an improved version of the unit it launched only six months ago.

(This review was first published on September 15 2009) Read more

Seagate’s FreeAgent Theater media player, announced at CES and now available, seems almost a retro concept for getting digital media files playing in the living room, given all the talk this year of bringing the internet to the TV.

But if you have still failed to grasp the DLNA standard, have ever struggled to set up a Wi-Fi connection to a set-top box or television or endured the frustration of seeing your streaming picture steadily deteriorate and freeze, the FreeAgent Theater is something of a hassle-free charmer. Read more