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Netgear aims to make home storage hip

Networking products company is showing off a line of network-attached gear that can be used to expand a TiVo box or stream content to mobile devices, among other uses.

The concept of a home storage appliance is not exactly a sexy topic, but Netgear hopes its latest products will help change that.

On Thursday, the company is showing off a new line of pricey but powerful gear aimed at streaming content through the home and beyond.

Netgear's new ReadyNas Ultra storage products pack a powerful punch, but also carry some hefty price tags. Netgear

The ReadyNAS Ultra line includes the standard features one might expect in networked storage--including redundancy and up to 12 terabytes of capacity--but also allows the media files stored on the device to be shared in a variety of ways.

For example, a partnership with TiVo means that the devices can be used to allow TiVo owners to store thousands of hours of television--all accessible from any TiVo box in the house. Meanwhile, a separate partnership with Orb allows unprotected files to be streamed out to all manner of mobile devices including iPads, BlackBerry phones, and Android-based devices.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Netgear CEO Patrick Lo billed the products as a huge advance in the way people store and share content.

"We think this is basically the beginning of the end of local storage--those USB drives," he said. "This is a major, major breakthrough."

Each of the systems contain Intel Atom processors--the first time Netgear has put a PC chip inside its consumer storage products. Doing so allows the storage to run three times faster, Netgear says.

The Netgear boxes also support the Skifta media shifting service, allowing people to remotely access their media library from any device that supports the DLNA standard.

But all that power and versatility doesn't come cheap. A four-bay system with dual 2-terabyte disks carries an $899 suggested price tag, while the same system without the drives included sells for $599. A six-bay system sells for $1349 with 6TB of storage or $899 diskless. The drives will start shipping mid-month and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com. Netgear plans to start selling a two-bay system in October.