Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD 1080p Netflix Media Player / Streamer Review

Western Digital made news with its WD TV Live Plus launch, supporting Netflix for the first time in company’s product line of media streamers / players. Seagate is a direct competitor with its own FreeAgent boxes and recently they launched its new member, Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player. A rather long name, accompanied by a similarly long feature list, FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player also includes clients for YouTube, Paramount, vTuner, Mediafly, Picasa, Flickr, RSS, Finance and Weather widgets and, of course, just like its direct competitor, WD TV Live Plus, it plays close to 100% audio/video codecs available. What differentiates it though from the WD is the ability to connect directly to Seagate’s own GoFlex ultra portable storage devices  altough how much benefit the average user would get remains to be seen, since the unit also features the way more popular USB ports. I’ll never understand why, from a practical perspective companies are still insisting to lock customers in a proprietary format and get a lot of hate in the process.

Hit after the break for additional images and full technical specifications.

The device is small, altough not as small as the WD TV Live Plus which is the tiniest media streamer I have seen. A peculiar aspect of the Seagate device is the lack of a hardware power On/Off button, so you’ll have to rely to the included remote. The boot time is toward 30 seconds, comparable with my HTPC booting from an Intel SSD drive into Windows 7 with Windows Media Center fully loaded, so I would say that’s a bit slow for an integrated media streamer.

I tested various video files (included the ever popular DVD ISO images and YES, it DOES play DVD menus) and I did not find even one that wouldn’t play, so from this perspective, its performance is on par with the WD unit. Also, as the WD TV Live Plus device, it supports DLNA and network shares and it plays well with both PS3 Media Server and PlayOn (and indeed, you can stream HULU via PlayOn and DLNA).

1. Hardware connectors:

HDMI 1.3; Composite; Component, Stereo, Optical S/PDIF

2. Supported Codecs:

Video:

MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (Xvid), DivX®, DivX HD, Xvid HD, AVI, MOV, MKV, RMVB Real Media, AVC HD, H.264, WMV9, VC-1, M2TS, TS/TP/M2T
Video Resolutions:
NTSC 480i/480p, PAL 576i/576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Subtitles:
SAMI (smi), SRT, SUB
Photo:
JPEG files (up to 20 megapixels), MJPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF
Audio:
AAC, MP3, Dolby® Digital, DTS, ASF, FLAC, WMA, WMA Pro, LPCM, ADPCM, WAV, OGG
Playlist:
M3U, PLS

3. Web Clients:

– Netflix
– YouTube
– Paramount
– vTuner
– Mediafly
– Picasa
– Flickr
– Video Feeds (RSS)
– Text Feeds (RSS)
– Finance Widget
– Weather Widget

 

4. Conclusion:

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD is very similar in terms of capabilities with its direct competitor WD TV Live Plus. Same CODEC support, similar web clients. A notable missing feature is Pandora radio support, but it has vTuner support which might be more useful for some (I love to listen to foreign radio stations, so I am one of those). Priced at $120 at the time of this review, it is comparable price wise with similar devices currently on the market. Its interface is a little bit more nicer than WD TV Live Plus and subject to user’s own preferences. Navigating Netflix menus also proved a little bit faster than WD TV Live Plus.
You will have to order separately the WiFi adapter, but since I always stream HD content via a wired Ethernet connection, that doesn’t bother me too much.

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  • David

    The Netflix app doesn’t connect to the Canadian version of Netflix. According to Seagate it’s a hardware issue
    and they won’t be addressing it.