Media streamers make an excellent addition to any home entertainment setup as they provide an easy way to play your digital media files on your TV. The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV works with many different file formats and even Internet streaming services, like Netflix. They're inexpensive and easy to setup and can add great value and use to your home theater system.
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV is a small black box that is very simple to setup, just connect the power adapter, video & audio outputs, Ethernet connection and you're ready to go. The GoFlex TV supports HDMI, component, and composite outputs. No cable is provided for HDMI connectivity, which is a usual disappointment for these devices. Connecting the unit to your network is simple: just plug it a network Ethernet cable into the GoFlex and you're all set. Don't have an Ethernet connection nearby? You can purchase an optional Wi-Fi adapter that connects to the unit's USB port for $50. Be mindful, however, that using Wi-Fi for network connectivity typically results in slower connection speeds, meaning a degradation of video & audio quality.
Once you're all connected, it will walk you through a few setup screens for things like language, time of day, etc. Once that's done, you can connect to your networked computers and play any media content that is shared on them. For example, content that is shared on Windows 7 in Windows Media Player 12 instantly shows up in the GoFlex TV interface and can be played and controlled right from your TV. This works for videos, music, and pictures as well. Any streaming media servers that utilize uPnP, like software that streams music on your computer for example, will also work with the GoFlex TV.
The Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV can also be connected to a Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex hard drive unit, which connects via the USB port on the back. This provides a local-storage solution to store content right on this connected drive to avoid network streaming if you encounter network issues. Seagate includes a Media Sync software solution to transfer content from a computer to the GoFlex hard drive, but it has to be connected physically to that computer and cannot be done over the network. Likewise, file operations (copy, delete, etc.) cannot be performed from the GoFlex TV device itself. USB flash drives may also be connected to the USB port on the GoFlex TV to play any content located on the flash drive.
Some of the Internet media services supported include Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, and many more through MediaFly. The Netflix Instant Streaming interface is the same on all other media streamers and suffers from the same flaw: you cannot search/browse the streaming library from the device and any content you want to watch must be added to the instant streaming queue on Netflix.com from your computer. The YouTube interface lets users sign into their YouTube account and access & edit videos on their favorites menu and Flickr lets you search for photos, but won't let you log into your account.
The GoFlex TV supports DRM protection-free formats, like MPEG, MP3, etc. and even more advanced formats, like DivX. We did run into a few performance issues with the unit, mostly when streaming content from local network computers, which occasionally returned errors preventing playback of the content. But most of the time, it worked with no issue, including the Netflix Instant Streaming from our Netflix account.