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Seagate ships portable drive with movies

Seagate, in collaboration with Paramount Pictures, ships its new FreeAgent Go Portable Drive with 21 movies preloaded.

The new 500GB FreeAgent Go Portable Drive comes preloaded with 21 movies from Paramount. Dong Ngo/CNET

Seagate, maker of the FreeAgent Go portable hard drive and the FreeAgent Theater+ player, announced Monday its agreement with Paramount Pictures to preload some of its 500GB FreeAgent Go Portable drives with a library of 21 feature films. This appears to be the first time a storage company has teamed up with a studio to distribute movies in a digital format this way.

The movies include "Star Trek," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "G.I. Joe," "Shooter," "The Hunt for Red October," "Nacho Libre," and "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius."

You'll need a code to activate a movie before it can be played back. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

All these titles are encrypted with digital rights management (DRM) and need an activation code before they can be played. The cost for the activation varies from $10 to $15 each movie. However, Seagate offers a free code for "Star Trek" together with the registration of the new hard drive.

Once activated, the movies can be played back on your computer via Windows Media Player or any other digital content playback device that supports the DRM technology used by Paramount Pictures.

According to Seagate, its FreeAgent Theater+ is among these devices; it must be upgraded with the latest firmware, which will be released later this month.

All of these movies are stored in compressed hi-def format and take up about 2.5GB of space each. All 21 movies use up about one-tenth of the drive's total 500GB of storage, leaving plenty of space for more data. Those who don't want to keep the movies can simply delete the files.

The FreeAgent Go is a USB 2.0 bus-powered portable hard drive. It comes with just one USB cable that works both as a power and data connector. The drive, together with the preloaded movies and the free activation code for "Star Trek," is slated to cost $99. It's available now.

What do you think? Is this a cool idea? Would you pay $15 for a movie preloaded on a storage device? Let us know in the comments.