Seagate's old FreeAgent Theater was a great way for people who wanted to play video and music from their PC but, for whatever reason, couldn't be bothered to set up a home network. You just grabbed the FreeAgent disk module from its PC dock and slipped it into the dock at your home theater. Easy-peasy, if a little low-tech.
The next generation of the device, the FreeAgent Theater+ does the same sneakernet trick, but it also adds the network element. Now that home theater dock can access your home network, streaming your content directly from your PC or the Net. Why have the hard disk at all then? It might help in playing back 1080p video through the HDMI output, which this gadget supports (unlike the last FA). The home theater dock sells for $150, but you can get it bundled with a 500GB drive for $290. A wireless option ($70) for the network connection is coming in October.
We really like the progress here, and it's about time this product got HDMI. But we're finding more and more that the software on these babies really does matter (probably why so many people are doing things like putting Boxee on their Apple TVs), so it had better be good, guys, if you really want to compete with similar products like Netgear's latest media receiver.