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Now a server in the home?

By Anand Parthasarathy

MUMBAI, NOV. 4. The question: "Are you being served?" may assume a new meaning, if hard disk leader Seagate's latest vision becomes a reality.

The company today announced a slew of new products aimed at putting a disk drive-backed server — that boring piece of office computing hardware — in the home, as the epicentre of the entertainment system.

Among products unveiled here for early 2005 release in India were:

* A new hard drive, the DB 35, with the industry's highest capacity, 400 gigabytes, for digital video recorders (DVRs), capable of storing nearly 400 hours of TV programming. In effect this will enable customers to use a `pause' button even with live television footage like serials, and to view it later, since the DVR would have recorded it all.

* A tiny stamp sized one inch hard drive, the ST1, of 5 GB capacity that can store nearly 2500 songs in the compressed MP3 format.

* A new 5 GB, one inch external Flash drive that will allow digital camera users to store 1000s of photographs without switching memory devices.

* A PC or server drive, the Barracuda 7200.8, that can store up to half a terabyte ( that is 500 GB) to store up to 50 movies in DVD quality or 9600 hours of music.

Seagate's U.S.-based Director for Global Consumer Electronics Marketing, Robin Pait, explained that while the global market for PC and enterprise storage was levelling off, the fastest growth rates, 12 per cent, were seen in the home and consumer markets, which should see seven million storage units bought by 2006.

While some international brands such as Creative, Rio and Virgin were already using the new one inch drives to power new-generation MPe players, some of which doubled as voice recorders and FM radios, Seagate was already talking to Indian assemblers to bring out home storage entertainment devices tailored to `desi' needs, Seagate's Country Manager, Sharad Shrivastava, said.

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