What Else Can I Do With It?
The Seagate Central is a media server at heart and can share content with DLNA devices, as well as the Apple TV. In fact, the Apple TV would really complement the Central, especially if you plan to load it up with iTunes-based content. After all, it won’t play back any of that stuff on your TV/stereo, if you don’t have an Apple TV connected. Remember, Apple doesn’t like to share anything! Seagate also has something special for those of you with one of Samsung’s Smart TVs or Blu-ray players (or both). Samsung’s Smart TV platform actually has its own Seagate Central app, so you can easily access all of the box’s stored content through the interface displayed on your HDTV.
If you don’t have Apple or Samsung, you can still share stored content with that big screen. Many of today’s HDTVs, Blu-ray players and other devices are packing in DLNA support. For instance, when I navigated to networked devices and DLNA on my Panasonic DMP-BDT220 3D Blu-ray player, the Seagate was right there for the taking. Like everything else connected to the network, this didn’t require a password to access the Central’s Public folder. However, like the app, you’ll only be able to access what’s Public. No other files will be visible.
While using DLNA, both the Music and Videos options were a bit limited. You aren’t going to be able to download music or movies from iTunes for playback on your TV. It makes sense. After all, Apple wants you to buy the Apple TV, not the Seagate Central. So I wasn’t able to play a lot of my stored music, as well as a few random videos. If you have all MP3s, you’ll have a much more extensive selection available at your fingertips. Photos, on the other hand, didn’t discriminate, with everything from the Central available for viewing. My one gripe is that there appears to be no slideshow option, although that may be my specific Blu-ray player.
Um, What About Backup?
Of course, the Seagate Central is designed for backup and backup you shall have—and pretty easily, I might add. This is where the Seagate Dashboard comes in. This is a downloadable program that makes saving your files as seamless as you want it to be.
Download the Dashboard to the computer that you want to back up and you’ll find three options: Protect, Share and Save.
Protect offers its own trio of options. Users can protect files at whim or set up a “backup plan.” This allows you to schedule routine backups of certain folders or the entire contents of a computer. Once you decide which items you want to back up, you can create a backup plan that will run automatically without another click. Options include Hourly, Daily, Weekly and Monthly. There’s also a Continuously option for just that, as well as a Snapshot for backing up select files just one time. Finally, the Protect header also has a Restore option, in case you have one of those unfortunate accidents and lose everything on your PC, on your iPhone, in your Facebook account, or anywhere else that you previously backed up.
Share allows users to upload pictures and/or video to Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. You will need to log into those respective accounts to share content. Save will back up any photos and video loaded to Facebook and Flickr. I don’t know about you, but I post a lot of videos and photos directly from my iPhone. This makes backing up those posts easy, without having to download anything to a main computer.
The Seagate Central isn’t really an all-in-one device for home theater users. It’s not supposed to be. In other words, it’s not really meant to be a replacement for the Apple TV, a Roku box, or some other media streamer. That said, it will back up all of your audio, video and photos—and make most of it accessible from anywhere in the world. It also backs up a lot of it, thanks to an internal 4TB hard drive. Of course, I would still recommend (from experience) that you get a back up for this backup. Still, it does get all of that storage into your regular digital rotation. Is it the be-all end-all of home theater devices? No. It is a possible lifesaver? Absolutely, which makes it well worth the MSRP
Seagate Central Shared Storage
Starts at $174.99
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.