$130 • www.seagate.com
Electronics makers have been chasing the chimera of a storage device that can easily -- the operative word -- retrieve music, videos and photos from a hard drive and send them to a television as well as to a PC. Hard-drive maker Seagate thinks it has found a way to make it work with its FreeAgent Theater HD media player. The device taps into a portable hard drive to put video, photos, music and more on a television set. With the Seagate system, an external drive is slipped into the Theater HD dock. It can be upgraded to larger drives as an entertainment collection grows. The device will display video at 1080i -- not at the full high-definition display of 1080p -- and supports lots of audio formats. The FreeAgent Theater comes as a stand-alone unit with a remote control or bundled with one of the company's Go external drives.
WHO NEEDS A DSLR?
$450 • www.olympusamerica.com
Olympus' new SP-590 Ultra Zoom has some impressive technology. But as its name suggests, this camera is all about the lens, a 26X optical zoom, equivalent to a telescopic zoom ranging from 26mm to 676mm. This camera, available in March, provides an argument against upgrading to a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). The 12-megapixel SP-590UZ delivers many of the same features in a smaller, lighter and less expensive package. The SP-590UZ offers full manual control and support for external wireless flash units. It includes a high-speed sequential shooting mode that starts capturing images as soon as the focus is locked, ensuring that you'll get the image you want even if you fully depress the shutter too late. It also offers dual-image stabilization to eliminate camera shake. The camera can operate in fully automatic mode.
NEW YORK TIMES