Western Digital Unveils Media Player For Digital TVs - InformationWeek

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Western Digital Unveils Media Player For Digital TVs

The WD TV Media Player enables television playback of high-definition and other entertainment stored on a USB external storage device, without networking equipment, wiring, or software.

Western Digital's TV Media Player
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Western Digital's TV Media Player
Western Digital on Monday launched a media player that connects to a digital TV and plays video, music, and photos from a USB external storage device.

The WD TV Media Player offers people who store a large amount of entertainment on their PCs a way to play the files on their TVs without the need for networking equipment or wiring and software to connect the computer to a TV, WD said. People can leave the Media Player plugged in to a TV and plug in up to two USB drives. The player is capable of high-definition playback and comes with a remote control for navigating and playing content through the device's on-screen menu.

Content can be viewed by either file name or thumbnails of photos, album covers, or movie cover art. In addition, the device automatically aggregates media so people can see content by media type in one menu regardless of its location in folders or drives.

The device is designed for the company's My Passport portable drive, which ships in capacities up to 500 GB. However, WD has made the player compatible with third-party products, including other USB drives, digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices.

For connecting to a digital TV, the Media Player includes an HDMI port, which stands for high-definition multimedia interface and is commonly used to connect audio/video sources such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray disc players, PCs, and video-game consoles. The player ships with ArcSoft Media Converter 2.5 software, which converts content into file formats usable through the device.

The TV Media Player has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $130 and includes a one-year limited warranty.

In entering the media player business, WD is looking to boost sales of its own storage devices by giving people another reason to move content from their PCs to an external drive. Quoting market researcher IDC, WD claims nearly 334 million GB of photos and 3.1 billion GB of video will be stored on consumer PCs this year. By 2010, those numbers are expected to increase to 400 million GB and 5.8 billion GB, respectively.

WD's device offers an alternative to products such as Apple TV, which connects to a digital TV and can play content streamed wirelessly or through a wired connection from a Mac or Windows PC with Apple's iTunes software.

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