Traxdata has seen the writing on the wall and realised there's little profit to be made from flogging gigabytes alone. It's therefore exploring new avenues, most notably ways to get all the content originally stored on your PC and now duly backed up to an external drive so you can easily access it.

Since the bulk of the 500GB of data you can store on the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive is likely to be music, photos and videos, the logic is you'll want a way to enjoy them again now they're no longer clogging up your PC.

The principle has already been tried with network-attached storage (NAS). But for most home users, it's either too complex to muck about with setting up a network drive that still doesn't let you get at your stuff directly, or simply not what's wanted. Instead, we should be flicking through our home video clip collections and movies we've siphoned off the web on TVs, from the comfort of our sofa and with remote control in had.

To get content on to the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive, you first need to load it up from your PC. There's a rather bland interface called Playlist Manager, using which you drag-and-drop items into the photo and video folders.

You can set preferences for playback here - one way you can avoid having to view the so-so photos in your collection along with those you deem worthy of public display. After this, you must unplug the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive and attach it to the screen on which you want to view your content.

The onscreen menu here is more attractive than the PC one and simply lets you dive into the folder you need and initiate playback or allows you to scroll through thumbnail previews of images to select those you want. Playback can only be controlled via the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive's slimline remote control which has an odd array of keys.

The remote control can be stashed on the underside of the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive, becuase its stand is recessed for this purpose. The drive is a hulking, rather industrial metal, but at least has the advantage that it operates quietly and stays cool. The MultiMediaDrive comes with an HDMI port and, in theory at least, can display video at resolutions of up to 1080. We played a DivX-encoded HD copy of Battlestar Galactica on our HD-ready TV and found it played pretty flawlessly. However, the range of formats supported isn't the widest we've seen, excluding even Mpeg4 and H.264 support.


What to make of the Traxdata MultiMediaDrive? We’d love an easier way of getting our favourite footage on to a big screen for playback, but we don’t expect to pay this much for the privilege, especially as there are more attractive options than this with better interfaces.