January 18, 2008
| by Gordon Jones
At first glance, LaCie’s new LaCinema Premier looks the part of a nicely-priced “media server.” Starting at just $230, this box has real world storage (500GB-1TB), a decent, if unimaginative onscreen interface and quiet, fanless operation. It throws the usual audio and video formats to your big screen TV and supports Windows, Mac and Linux machines. It also upscales your content to 1080i when necessary and handles the 5.1 sound from your ripped, er, home movies.
What’s missing? For starters, connectivity. In order to get said movies, music and pics onto your HDTV, you need to “LaSchlep” the 2lb box to your computer, transfer everything via USB 2.0, walk back to your TV, plug it in, rinse and repeat. For the traveling types, that might be acceptable. For the average home theater junkie, it goes against everything that is convenient and lazy. For connections, it has only composite, S-Video, and component. No HDMI?! Audio ports inlcude optical and coax, which is standard for this type of device these days.
In fairness, Lacie is branding this product as a “Multimedia Hard Disk” which is exactly what it is. In that respect, the comparison to the Apple TV might be unfair. Given it’s price point, however, the wired/wireless connectivity glove has been dropped by Apple (and others) so it’s a battle that Lacie has voluntarily entered. If you’re in the market for a hard drive that does a bit more than the usual, the LaCinema is not a bad deal byte for buck. If you’re looking for an Apple TV with decent storage, well, get in line.
Price: $230 (500GB), $329 (750GB), $469 (1TB). Ships in February 2008.
Read the Entire Press Release Here.