Seagate FreeAgent® GoFlex™ TV HD Media Player Review

I’ve read reviews on The Gadgeteer for media players that hook up with your TV or home theater setup and let you view your home videos, pictures, movies, and even play your music files.  I’ve always been interested in them, but I’ve never had one of these devices.  I had looked into an Apple TV some months back, but they didn’t do HD.  I liked the idea of the Apple TV because of the easy access to movies I could rent or buy for the device.  Recently, I’d been noticing that some companies making these devices were forming relationships with Netflix or other movie services, and my interest in media players was growing again.  When Julie offered the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD media player, I was excited to give it a try.

What’s in the Box
FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player
Composite A/V cable
Component A/V cable
Power supply
Remote control
(Seagate’s website says a Quick Start guide and a CD should be included, but there wasn’t either in my packaging)

Specifications
Dimensions: 4.30in L x 5.91in W x 1.65in H (110mm x 150mm x 42mm)
Weight: 0.67lb (0.30kg)
Video file compatibility: AVI (Xvid, MPEG1/2/4, TS), MPG/MPEG, DVD (VOB, IFO) MP4/MOV (MPEG-4), H.264, VC-1 (WMV9), ISO, RM/RMVB, Motion JPEG, FLV, DivX HD
Audio file compatibility: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, WMA Pro, AAC, FLAC, MKA, OGG, APE, Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS
Video resolutions: NTSC 480i/480p, PAL 576i/576p, 720p, 1080i,1080p
Computer system requirements: Windows® XP, Windows Vista®, or Windows® 7 operating system or Mac® OS X 10.4.11 or 10.5.6 or later operating system ;  available USB port
Video output: Composite video, component video or HDMI
Audio output: Stereo, S/PDIF Optical Digital Audio or HDMI audio
Network: Ethernet connectivity enables access of shared folders on computers and other devices connected to your network such as a GoFlex Net media sharing device, media server or a NAS
Wireless: Optional Wi-Fi adapter (sold separately), Wireless-N supported
Internet Services: Netflix, YouTube, Paramount, vTuner, Mediafly, Picasa, Flickr, Video feeds (RSS), Text feeds (RSS), Finance widget, Weather widget

(Note: Some of the pictures in this review are clickable for an enlarged view.)

My A/V setup is very simple.  I have a 60” Sharp Aquos LCD TV, a cable box, and a Sony Blu-ray player.  Other than TV programming through the cable connection, our entertainment has been mostly limited to the DVDs we currently own.  We don’t often bother with our local DVD rental store because they have a problem with correctly checking in returned movies.  Our cable service allows us to rent On Demand movies, but we seldom do because of the often choppy, pixelated playback of these movies.  This poor playback of the On Demand movies can’t be attributed to our bandwidth, because we have outstanding bandwidth for home service.  I was happy to see that the GoFlex was partnered with Netflix, and I hoped that the playback of those movies would be better than the On Demand movies.  We were ready to broaden our entertainment horizons! 

The front of the GoFlex TV is actually a hinged cover. A GoFlex hard drive can be plugged in the chamber behind the cover.

The GoFlex TV HD is a small black plastic box, some parts shiny and some matte.  There’s only the Seagate logo and an LED on the front.  The LED is solid amber in standby mode, blinks amber while starting up, and is solid white when the unit is powered on.  If you find it distracting, you can disable the LED in the setup options.

The GoFlex TV HD doesn’t have any internal memory, so I was planning to use an external hard drive I had on hand with it.  When I received the package from Seagate, I was surprised to see that they had also sent a 1 TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable hard drive.  The GoFlex Ultra-portable hard drive is also made of shiny black plastic, and it is even smaller than the GoFlex TV.  The hard drive comes with a connector cable that allows you to plug it directly into a USB port.  There is no power adapter for the hard drive; it is powered through the USB port.

Internal chamber for plugging in a GoFlex hard disk

The GoFlex TV actually has an internal chamber (behind the hinged front cover) where you can install a GoFlex Ultra-portable drive, but the chamber is sized for a much smaller drive than the one I received.  The 1TB GoFlex hard drive is physically bigger than the smaller capacity GoFlex drives.  No problem, however, because the GoFlex TV has two USB 2.0 ports – one on the back, and one on the side.  I plugged the GoFlex Ultra-portable drive into the port on the back, leaving the more accessible port on the side available for plugging in USB flash drives, a digital camera, a digital video camera, or the like.

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About rayrr

10 years as a NetWork Administrator in the Virginia Beach, Virginia Area. 11 years in the San Diego, California area. Went back to Manila Philippines to relax and rest away from the rat race. View all posts by rayrr

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