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LaCie LaCinema: Portable HD Media Playback Solutions

A common question on video forums these days is, “How can I play HD videos at a trade show” or “How can I provide video playback at a kiosk for my client”, without having to burn to Blu-ray and use a Blu-ray player? Others may want to take audio, photo and movie collections on the go, for vacations or sharing with relatives.

LaCie, a popular supplier of portable hard drives, has a solution in their LaCinema line of hard drives. There are two lines – LaCinema Classic, and LaCinema Rugged, the latter having a shock-absorbing rubber sleeve to counter the effects of rough handling or accidents. Drives are available in several sizes, from an affordable 250GB to a whopping 1TB to suit huge media collections.

These are external USB hard drives that have AV outputs built into the drive enclosure. Just connect power for the drive, connect to a video monitor, and use the included remote-control to access and play audio, video, and photos that are stored on the drive. NTSC, PAL, and HD displays are supported.

Specs vary slightly between the Classic and Rugged models, but supported media formats include MP3 and WMA for audio clips, JPEG for photo stills, and MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx and more for video playback. Video is output via composite (with RCA stereo audio), or HDMI for HD displays (upscaled to 1080p). Digital audio outputs are available for home theater connection as well.

An on-screen menu display is used to manage file playback and output options. Slideshows may be set up for still photo presentations, with user-defined durations and transitions.The drives weigh about two pounds, and use silent, fanless cooling. A USB 2.0 connection supports use with Mac or PC for loading your favorite clips onto the drive, and is also used for firmware updates. Audio, Video, and HDMI cables are included, a feature missed on many products today. All LaCinema drives come with a two-year limited warranty.If you’re looking for reliable, portable multimedia playback, check out the LaCinema Classic and LaCinema Rugged from LaCie.

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LaCie LaCinema: Portable HD Media Playback Solutions