Packard Bell Studio ST – media hard drive

By Andrew Rafter,

Packard Bell has been hard at work trying to keep pace with the storage solution rat race, and the result is the Packard Bell Studio ST, a HD ready media hard drive.

Studio ST2

At a glance, it’s a black box, finished in high gloss, but there are questions marks regarding the its capabilities – we are unable to confirm which file formats it supports and the press release state it plays “most common file formats” which is a bit shady, but with a HDMI connector, Dolby Digital decoding and 1080p support, we are just crossing our fingers that it can play the Holy Grail MKV file format.

The ST will work in conjunction with Packard Bell’s software suite for automatic, scheduled continuous backup, data synchronisation and system archiving. In the box you can expect to see all-digital cables including composite A/V, YPbPr, HDMI and USB 2,0. It also comes with a remote control and has a USB port for sharing or playing files stored on other USB devices.

They’re touting eco-friendly features too, featuring power saving technology, which reduces power consumption by 60% when the drive is inactive. It also has been designed for fan-less silent operation, which is more than welcomed. Storage wise the ST starts at 500GB, going up to 2TB, which more than enough space for all your media. But the lack of DNLA and DIVX does seem a major oversight and most of its competitors are already implementing network streaming through these devices.

So if your looking for a simple easy to use storage device the Packard Bell might well by the device for you. But with some major features missing you might want to look at alternatives like the Iomega ScreenPlay Director HD media player or the Western Digital WD TV. They share many of the same features and can play all your favourite codec’s as well access to Youtube and Flickr. And with DLNA certification you can stream content from your computer over Wi-Fi straight to the box – so there’s no need to transfer files.