FreeAgent Theater FAQs
Frequently asked questions for FreeAgent Theater, including information on media streaming, specifications and characteristics that set it apart from other products, and supported formats.
Q: Can’t people stream media through their TVs already using media extenders like PS3s and windows media center? And what about on-demand subscription services?
A: Yes, the ability to access and/or stream content contained on your computer through your TV set has been possible for some time using an array of different home networking and/or entertainment devices. However, what we found is that the use of those products requires a level of technical know-how that surpassed many users and could also be thwarted by network cables, frustrating download speeds and/or required file conversion. The FreeAgent Theater HD media player makes it easier than ever for everyone to share and enjoy the digital memories stored on their computers from the comfort of their couch. The unique dual-docking system, simple synch software, versatile file formats, and remote control make it a snap to play, customize, and enjoy photo slideshows, music and movies with high definition quality.
Q: If other home entertainment networking solutions have previously been available, what do you see as the opportunity for this product in the market?
A: We feel there is a lot of potential for this product in the market because it bridges the gap between the computer and the TV screen in the easiest, non-technical way possible. While consumers have rapidly embraced digital media for the download, capture and playback of music, photos, and videos, most of that content is currently trapped on their home or laptop computers. According to a recent survey by Parks Associates, more than a quarter of consumers are interested in accessing personal content – such as photos and music – directly at the TV, while nearly a third of respondents expressed interest in being able to view movies and other PC-hosted video at the TV.
The Seagate FreeAgent Theater HD media player helps make this possible by eliminating burdensome cables, complicated network setups, wasted hours of time spent burning multiple DVDs or CDs, or the need for bulky, network attached storage devices in your living room. Seagate FreeAgent Theatre HD media player provides a simple way for consumers to store and move their media library between their PC and home entertainment environment so they can share photos, movies and music with family and friends in a much more comfortable setting.
Q: How many hours of video and music and how many hundreds of photos can the FreeAgent Theater hold?
A: The FreeAgent Theater uses the FreeAgent Go portable external drive, and ships with either a 500GB or GB drive, or without the drive included. The beauty of the FreeAgent Theater HD media player is that you can place any FreeAgent Go drive in the dock or connect another drive using the external USB port. So you can enjoy digital library content that may be stored on another device. Additionally, our FreeAgent Go drives are not only affordable, but now come in all the colors of the rainbow, making it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to grow and effortlessly organize their digital content - storing their favorite movies on one drive, family photos on a second and music libraries on a third.
Q: Does FreeAgent Theater work only with Seagate FreeAgent products or can you dock other external storage solutions to the FreeAgent Theater media dock?
A: The FreeAgent Theater media dock is designed to work with the Seagate FreeAgent Go, but the media player system also has an external USB port that supports the connection of any USB external storage device, and can read most devices that are formatted with NTFS or FAT 32, so you can use your media dock to stream content from Seagate and non-Seagate products, or even have your visiting friends and family plug in their storage devices to share with everyone.
Q: How does FreeAgent Theatre differ from WD’s TV HD media player and other offerings like Iomega Screenplay and LaCie LaCinema?
A: The FreeAgent Theater HD media player delivers a complete, easy to use home entertainment solution that syncs content from your computer to drive automatically and eliminates the need for complicated network setups or computer transfer. Everything you need to enjoy your personal PC content from the comfort of your living room, including:
FreeAgent Theater media dock
FreeAgent Go PC Dock with USB cable
FreeAgent Go portable hard drive
FreeAgent Remote Control
Composite Video cable
FreeAgent Theater is also unmatched in that it provides a familiar, user-friendly remote control experience while delivering crisp, clear, high-definition viewing. FreeAgent Theater displays your content in an easy-to-navigate format similar to the file folder format you see on your computer, which allows you to easily scroll through your photos, movie and music with the touch of a button on your remote. It won’t lump your music album art in with your personal photos or force you to fast forward through twenty minutes of a movie to get to the next scene (chapter) in a movie. With FreeAgent Theater you can preview movie clips with sound, fast forward, rewind, do scene selection, or do chapter skipping—similar to your DVD control settings—with the push of a button.
FreeAgent Theater also automatically upscales your movies and images to crisp, clear, high-definition quality for your viewing enjoyment. Your photos will appear as thumbnails in an organized manner and pop up quickly. You can also apply professional quality transition effects – cross fade, slide-in, etc--and set your photo slideshows to the music of your choosing from your digital library.
Plus, FreeAgent Theater is by far the easiest solution for transporting content from your computer to your living room—no long cables or power supply to drag through your living room, no frustratingly slow network connection experience or pre-requisite computer networking know-how required. Just simply load up your FreeAgent Go drive using the included simple synch software, undock and walk your drive over to your TV, plug it into your FreeAgent Theater media dock, sit back on the couch, point, click and enjoy.
Q: Can FreeAgent Theatre play HD videos and RAW photos? What about video games?
A: FreeAgent Theatre can play HD video in MPEG-2, Xvid and DivX formats, MPEG-2 up to 1080i and DivX & Xvid up to 720p, as well as display JPEG formatted photos up to 20 megapixels. We did not design FreeAgent Theater to play video games.
Q: What is the difference between HDMI and component output? Are there any advantages to component output?
A: There is virtually no difference between HDMI and component output in terms of viewing quality. While there is a commonly held misconception that "digital to digital” signal transfer is better,” there is zero amount of degradation and information loss in a "digital to component” transfer. Analog component video is an extremely robust signal type and transfers an image in a ways similar to HDMI. However, component output delivers that information to the display in a different form. FreeAgent Theater delivers that content to the display in high-definition format. So the user experience is exactly the same. The only time there may be a variance is dependent upon the characteristics of the source device (e.g., your DVD player) and the display device (e.g., your TV set). In this regard component output can actually be preferred to HDMI because some older HDTVs do not have HDMI capabilities.
Q: What file formats does the Seagate FreeAgent Media Player support?
A: The FreeAgent media player supports a wide range of widely used video, music, and photo formats including:
Video: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI/VOB/ISO), MPEG-4 (AVI), DivX, Xvid
Subtitles: SAMI(smi), SRT and SUB
Video resolutions: NTSC 480i/480p; PAL 576i/576p, supports video (true HD and upscaling) up to 720p/1080i*
Supports MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid up to 1280 x 720 60fps and supports MPEG-2 and photos up to 1920 x 1080i 30 fps
Audio: MP3, AC3 (5.1 audio - Dolby® Digital) WMA, WAV, OGG
Photo: JPEG files up to 20 megapixels
Q: What about support for the Mac community? A lot of Mac users are photo and video enthusiasts. Does FreeAgent Theater support MOV files?
A: While FreeAgent Theater does not support MOV formats out-of-the-box, third-party software is available to convert MOV (H.264) video to either MPEG-2, Xvid or DivX formats which can then be viewed using FreeAgent Theater. Additionally, Mac users can transfer their content to a FAT 32 formatted drive and move that to the FreeAgent Theater to access content on the drive.
Q: Does the FreeAgent Theater come with software and is it a required installation?
A: Yes the FreeAgent Theater ships with sync software, but you are not required to install the software on your PC, the simple drag and drop method works just fine. The included software allows you to adjust lighting on your FreeAgent Go, set power management, test your drive, and sync your media.
Q: What’s the advantage of using the sync software?
A: By default the Sync Software searches your PC’s documents and settings folders and transfers all movies, music, and photos to the FreeAgent Go and places them in the appropriate folders. In most cases the sync software finds media content you have lost, forgotten about, misnamed, or misplaced, and you can customize it to copy all the media on your disk drive, or specify certain folders.
Q: What’s the difference between the Sync software on the FreeAgent Go and the Sync software that comes with the FreeAgent Theater?
A: The sync software that comes with the FreeAgent Go drive copies data file types that aren’t viewable from your television using the theater, such as word docs, PDF‘s, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. The sync software that comes with the FreeAgent Theater is programmed to only copy files that are viewable through the FreeAgent Theater on your television.
Q: What happens when I copy unsupported file types to my FreeAgent Go, and try to view them on the FreeAgent Theater?
A: Nothing. In most cases you will see that a folder has been copied to the Go drive, but when you open the folder and view its contents from the theater dock, it will be empty. In some cases the theater may display the file name, but upon opening the file you will receive an invalid file type message on your television screen.
Q: My digital camera automatically numbers my photos and I cant tell what they are unless I use thumbnail mode on the Theater, but when I use thumbnail mode with high resolution photos it takes forever to display my photos as thumbnails, how do I make my pictures load faster in thumbnail mode?
A: Most digital cameras automatically create and embed a low resolution thumbnail into a picture upon clicking the shutter, but the higher resolution cameras typically create a higher resolution thumbnail.
So it will take longer for the screen to build the 12 pictures per screen when in thumbnail mode. If you want your thumbnail screen to load quicker, there are plenty of photo editing programs that allow you to resize embedded thumbnails. However, when it comes to resizing, and editing embedded thumbnails, the photo editing programs available have different levels of complexity, some are easy, some don’t really work at all, and some are difficult command line driven applications.
Q: I know my home movie files are in a format that should be supported by the FreeAgent | Theater, but for some reason I get an invalid file message when I try to play them. Why?
A: The FreeAgent | Theater supports the most common codec’s, and file formats, associated with movies, music, and photos, and there can be a number of reasons why your movie files don’t play. There is a free media viewing utility for your PC called VLC media player, it’s very simple to use and it is capable of playing broken files, or pieces of files, but more importantly it allows you to view the details of the Codec that the file has been rendered in. The viewer can be downloaded from http://www.videolan.org/.
Q: What are Codec’s?
A: Digital movies are created in a lot of different formats, and each format requires its own codec to view the content, so codec’s are nothing more than an interpreter. These codec’s are flashed into the memory of the FreeAgent | Theater’s chipset and they allow you to play MPEG XVID and DIVX formatted movie files.
Q: Can the FreeAgent Theater play ripped DVDs? Blu-Rays?
A: The FreeAgent Theater is designed to play the file and folder structures that are used for DVDs. We felt that was important to include as many consumers make DVDs of their home movies, complete with menuing of scene selections. We fully support this menuing. So if a consumer is able to get content from a DVD onto their hard drive, without any associated digital rights management locks, then yes, the Theater product will play it. As for Blu-Rays, they are in H.264 format – a format that Theater does not support. There are many products available on the market that will convert H.264 content to other formats, many of which are supported on the FreeAgent Theater product.
Q: How do you rip a commercial DVD?
A: Unfortunately, ‘ripping’ a commercial DVD breaks the copy protection laws, and we do not support any of the widely available applications that can do this. What we support is file and folder formats that are common to DVD structure, so long as they are free of digital rights management copy protection.
Q: When I plug the power cable to my FreeAgent | Theater the power light starts flashing why ?
A: The flashing amber light indicates the Theater is loading its operating system into the memory.
When the flashing stops the Theater unit can be powered on.
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