Legit Mods and Ends Reviews
Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ HD Media Player Review
|Product:||FreeAgent Theater+ HD Media Player (ST905004CEA2E1-RK)|
|Date:||Thu, Dec 10, 2009 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Ken Brown -|
Configuring the FreeAgent Theater+
Configuring the FreeAgent Theater+ could not have been simpler. Out of the box, we connected it to our HDTV via an HDMI cable and the FreeAgent recognized the resolution and aspect ratio automatically. The only thing we really had to tweak was the audio output format.
Seagate give you a number of choices depending on if you are connecting your FreeAgent Theater+ directly to your television or if you will be using a A/V Receiver. One of the major differences between the original FreeAgent Theater and the current “PLUS”-version is the inclusion of HDMI 1.3 port for easy playback to your HDTV.
We plugged in the Seagate FreeAgent Theater+ Wireless Adapter in and it was instantly recognized. The OS gave us a list of available wireless access points to connect to.
We found and selected the secure LR network and were prompted to enter our security key. Moments later, we were sharing files with our local network!
While the process of keying in the security key was painful with no keyboard, we survived it and the Seagate unit even remembered this information when the unit was unplugged and moved to a different location.
Seagate allows you to play your multimedia files in many different ways. You can play your files from an attached USB drive or from a FreeAgent Go hard drive that is docked with the Theater+. Of course, you can leave your content on your PC or Network Attached Storage if you want since the Theater+ has the ability to connect to your home network. By either wireless dongle or Ethernet cable, the Theater+ gives you the ability to access your content no matter where it is on your network.
The Seagate OS allows you to view your multimedia content by alphabetical order, via folder view, or even by thumbnail view. The GUI is pretty slick and responds well to the remote control. Even though the Seagate FreeAgent+ has essentially the same guts as the Patriot Box Office, navigating around the Seagate seemed a little quicker. Missing from the Seagate OS however, is the ability to preview the content that you are about to play or view. The Patriot “preview” feature remains unique to the Box Office.
The FreeAgent Theater+ informed us right away that there was a Firmware Update (v1.26) available. We were slightly nervous about the procedure given what happened recently with the last Western Digital TV Live update. In fact, Seagate doesn’t exactly have a pristine record of pulling off mass firmware updates either.
The firmware upgrade process took only a few minutes to download and install. With this latest update, Seagate gives the FreeAgent Theater+ access to new internet applications such as your YouTube videos and video feeds from ESPN, CNN, and others. You are also able to subscribe to video or text RSS feeds from all around the internet. I have to say, I like the direction Seagate is headed with these updates and it certainly separates the Theater+ from other media players on the market.
Actually, this latest firmware is packed with a bunch of different enhancements including: Media Server support over UPnP; An improved firmware update process; Improved slideshow timing intervals; Accurate A-Z content sorting; Enhanced filtering of cover art in the Pictures aggregation view; You can see a "Now Playing" menu option when navigating to other sections of the user interface when playing music; Seagate also fixed their issue of recognizing 1.5TB or larger HDD with HFS+ Journaling/File Corruption; The Thumbnail View has now been updated; and Wi-Fi dongle driver improvements have been implemented.
Next Page - High-Definition Video Playback
Page 1 - Introducing the Seagate FreeAgent Theater+
Page 2 - In the Box and Under the Hood
Page 3 - Configuring the FreeAgent Theater+
Page 4 - High-Definition Video Playback
Page 5 - Final Thoughts & Conclusions