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Iomega unveils 500GB HD multimedia drive

It promises to "upscale" video quality to high definition, but buyer beware of this feature.


Not long ago the idea of adding 500GB of storage space to a home media system was unthinkable to the average consumer, unless one was willing to pay ungodly sums of money. What a difference a couple of years make.

Iomega is releasing its "ScreenPlay HD Multimedia Drive" at that half-terabyte mark, a considerable leap from the 60GB capacity of its last generation. As storage technologies continue to drop in price--the new ScreenPlay is selling for around $200--it's positioned to compete with a growing number of products such as LaCie's "LaCinema Premier," which was described in CNET's 2006 review as "essentially a big hard drive with audio and video outputs and a remote control" that can work with the TV while bypassing a computer or the Internet.

The new ScreenPlay drive works much the same way but, like many other devices in this age of high definition, also includes an HD "upscaling" feature to provide higher video quality where possible. As fellow Craver David Carnoy cautioned recently, however, it behooves consumers to do their homework on this technology because it can be a dubious distinction depending on how well the TV processes video.