Hey folks, Valkor here. And I'd like to welcome back into the Val-Cave Seagate who've brought along another media player goody that I couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on. Seagate's first run into the Val-Cave gauntlet, which was with the FreeAgent Theater+ proved successful; while it had some quirks, still passed with flying colors. Now they've returned with the GoFlex TV HD Media Player – is it more of the same, or something more?
The GoFlex TV HD is a small set top box, similar to the FreeAgent Theater+ in that it's small enough to fit anywhere within the confines of your entertainment center without being intrusive. Think Roku or Apple TV box and essentially you'll have the GoFlex TV. The device is used to playback all your digital media content(music, photos, and movies) on your television screen in hi-def - audio in surround sound. The front has a trap door that's very inconspicuous. Seriously, at first glance, you'll wonder where to put the Hard Drive (HDD). On the right side is a USB slot and at the back has a second USB slot as well as all the ports to hook up to your TV and surround sound system. The GoFlex TV works with the GoFlex external drive, USB flash drives, or any external HDD.
Playback formats include Video: MPEG–1, MPEG–2 (VOB/ISO), MPEG–4 (XviD), Divx Plus™ HD, XviD HD, AVI, MOV, MKV, RMVB Real Media, FLV, AVC HD, H.264, WMV9, VC–1, M2TS, TS/TP/M2T
Audio: AAC, MP3, Dolby® Digital, DTS, ASF, FLAC, WMA, WMA Pro, LPCM, ADPCM, WAV, OGG Playlist: M3U, PLS
Photo: JPEG files (up to 20 megapixels), MJPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF
Once you plug in the device to your television, you'll be greeted with a similar menu screen as the Theater+; again very easy to maneuver – you have the option of movies, pictures, music, internet, and browse (for going through your HDD or USB drives). And with the optional Wi-Fi connection, you can explore what the web has to offer such as YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, Flickr, and more. Finally with the Wi-Fi connection, you can download an iPhone remote control app to use with either the GoFlex TV or the Theater+. What makes this the better option is that now you can use the keypad of the iPhone rather than the cumbersome remote to search for files over the interwebz. I can't comment on the iPhone app as I don't have the Wi-Fi option, nor can I comment on the Sync software (included with the GoFlex TV) because I prefer to drag and drop; it's just easier for me.
After giving it a thorough Val-Cave testing, what did I think overall of the GoFlex TV? For that we'll need the TOV Breakdown.
For starters, the GoFlex TV is essentially the Theater+ - except in a tighter casing. As far as picture and sound quality goes, I can't really tell the difference; and believe me, that's not a bad thing. Picture quality is smooth, clear and crisp. The same can be said for the audio, but remember everything is dependent on the source, so if the files are good quality, it will play fantastic on the drive. The differences between the GoFlex TV and its older brother are subtle, but one big plus is that the GoFlex can play FLV (flash) files. This is great if you like to save YouTube video for playback on the PC; now you can watch those funky fail videos pn the big screen. So just about everything I said that's good about the Theater+, I repeat here and then some. It's simply a fantastic player.
The GoFlex TV has similar issues as the Theater+. First up, you still have to dig deep to get to the settings; I still say that it should be a part of the main page. Second, FLV playback isn't perfect and some files are unplayable. But I won't put the blame completely on the player as it could be the fault of the file. Next and this is sort of nitpicking as it all boils down to personal preference, but I liked the design of the Theater+ more so than I do the GoFlex TV. Why? Because the HDD conforms with the player naturally, while the HDD for the GoFlex juts out at you. And it's kind of funny since I have a red drive; it looks like it's sticking its tongue out at me. Finally, much like the Theater+, after extensive playback the drive gets hot.
In the end, the GoFlex TV HD Media Player is still one of the best in playback of all your digital content on your TV. The GoFlex TV HD and GoFlex external HDD are sold separately (as well as the Wi-Fi option), however I believe it's totally worth the price. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give the GoFlex TV a 4.5. And the GoFlex TV HD has been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.