Last year we reviewed Seagate's FreeAgent Theater+ Media Player and generally liked what we saw, particularly the device's ability to play back most file formats. For 2010, Seagate has put out an updated version of that product that offers very similar features but has a more compact design and a built-in slot for the company's GoFlex external USB hard drives, which conveniently work with both Windows and Mac computers.
A USB media player allows you to view on your TV multimedia files that are stored on your computer, without much fuss. Of course, game consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox 360 offer similar functionality as part of their extensive repertoire (as do some Blu-ray players), but products like Seagate's FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD are targeting a more price-conscious consumer who doesn't want--or need--to deal with a full-fledged console.
Like the FreeAgent Theater+, this model offers a component video connection, HDMI with 1080p output (for easier hookup to an HDTV and higher maximum resolution), an Ethernet connection (for streaming digital media files over a network), and excellent file support (it reads a lot of files). Currently, this model comes in only a bare-bones "bring your own drive" version. The built-in slot will accommodate Seagate's standard GoFlex drives (320GB and 500GB), but models with capacities of 750GB and 1TB are physically larger, so you'll need to plug them (and non-Seagate drives) into the USB port.