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Seagate ships new consumer drive

The hard-drive maker says it is shipping the first consumer-electronics drives that use a new industry standard for data streaming.

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Hard-drive maker Seagate said Thursday that it is shipping the first consumer-electronics drives that use a new industry standard for data streaming.

The company said it's shipping the new drives to eight digital video recorder makers, including Toshiba, Thomson, Sony and Pioneer.

The 3.5-inch drives incorporate the ATA standard streaming command set adopted by the T13 committee earlier this year, the company said. In the past, various hard-drive makers, including Seagate, established proprietary ways of improving video streaming in hard drives, the company said.

"Customers told Seagate they no longer want to choose between varied, incompatible methods for ensuring reliable video streaming in digital video recording devices," the company said in a statement.

DVRs let TV viewers record TV shows as well as temporarily pause live broadcasts. The devices rely on a continuous stream of data to produce high-quality video. Hard drives configured for personal computers aren't optimal for video recording applications, partly because repetitive error-checking procedures slow down video streaming, Seagate said.

DVRs are expected to grow in popularity. There were about 1.5 million U.S. households with DVRs in 2002, and the number should climb to about 3 million this year, according to market research company IDC.

Seagate said its new drives may find their way into consumer devices beyond DVRs, such as audio jukebox players.

Maxtor and Western Digital also make hard drives for the consumer-electronics market.

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