New media player unlocks Full HD solid state content

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Western Digital and its new WD TV Media Player are taking us a step closer to a new world of Full High Definition in solid state.

In the brave new world of solid state storage, a terabyte of storage is common, you can even buy storage devices on sale for under $100. One terabyte can store every single episode of The Simpsons to date.

There doesn’t seem to be a lifespan for solid state storage, it just seems to have the potential to go on forever, offering more and more storage capacity at ever lower prices.

People used to be excited about one gigabyte USB drives. Now you can get 16 GB on a MicroSD card the size of a little fingernail.

When Toshiba conceded defeat in the HD DVD vs Blu-ray war in February this year, it fired off a parting shot at the Blu-ray camp.

In an interview with in February, Toshiba Australia general manager Mark Whittard, said “We believe technology developments will soon leapfrog high definition discs, whether it be HD DVD or Blu-ray …. this step is going to be leapfrogged by the next major format — digital content, internet downloads and video on demand.”

Now WD has released the WD TV HD Media Player and Toshiba has also released its XD-E500 DVD Upscaler that turns standard definition DVD picture quality into 1080p definition. It essentially means consumers don’t need to throw out their DVD movie collection just yet when they can watch their DVDs in what Toshiba says is “enhanced detail and richer colour at near HD picture quality”.

Ok, so once again, nothing at the moment comes close to Blu-ray in terms of the convenient full HD cinema experience at home. But the promise of full HD movies on a USB stick that you simply plug and play is now a reality with the WD TV HD Media Player. Consumers can download full HD movies from Bigpond and play them through this WD player.

Blockbuster video stores were in a deal with a supplier of technology to dispense movies on USB drives until the supplier went out of business. It would be reasonable to think that it’s just a matter of time before manufacturers embrace full HD on solid state drives. You could even envisage TVs with in-built media players that you plug your USB storage device into. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG, already have TVs with storage device plug and play capability.

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