It had to happen at some point, so why not now? After a startling — almost terrifying — year-long gap between Brando SATA HDD docks, the company is finally outing another. For those who’ve been camped out under the nearest boulder for the past few years, these external HDD docks allow users to plug any 2.5- or 3.5-inch SATA hard drive in, and then have said drive mount on the desktop of a connected computer. It’s pretty handy for those running diagnostic tests or looking to clone a drive without a dedicated machine, and now it’s taken the expected leap to USB 3.0 — a move that rival Sharkoon made back in 2009. You’ll also find a trifecta of SuperSpeed USB ports on the rear, though this gem will set you back a full $140 if you buy in today. Yikes.
Could this be the home theater PC (HTPC) killer? Netgear just placed its upcoming Digital Entertainer Elite network media streamer up for FCC approval, and so far, it looks excellent. Not only can it play a long list of file types, including those Matroska, DivX and XviD video files favored by, uh, excessive file sharers, but it can also play DRM-infested files from iTunes.
If you don’t like the idea of streaming from a Mac, PC or Linux box, downloaders can easily slide in a 3.5-inch SATA drive and play those files locally. There’s also built-in wireless-N networking if you don’t happen to have an Ethernet port nearby. Wow. This one has it all.
Expected to be officially introduced at the upcoming CES show in January, this hot box has the oomph to play back even fat 1080p video, with a mighty 40Mbps of bandwidth giving it far more playback power than Apple TV, or even the Xbox 360. Even though the instruction manual (pdf) looks great so far, we’re wondering if Netgear is capable of ginning up some kind of elegant user interface. In the meantime, take a look at this comparison table between Netgear’s box and its competitors: