Plextor Europe recently announced a new range of external hard disk drives. In addition to a USB interface, the PX-PH120US, PX-PH160US and PX-PH250US feature a eSATA (external Serial ATA) connection which allows them to reach speeds of 200 Mb a second.

Plextor Europe ( announces the launch of its new range of external hard disk drives: PX-PH120US, PX-PH160US and PX-PH250US. The digits in these product models refer to the disk capacity in gigabytes. In addition to a USB interface, users benefit from an eSATA (external Serial ATA) connection to boost the speed of these external drives. They are still as small and lightweight as the highly successful range of previous PX-PH08U2, PX-PH12U2 and PX-PH16U2 hard disks. Good news all round.

PCs are generally fitted with a Serial ATA interface to connect their internal hard disk drives to the motherboard. We are now extending this connection to external hard disks to deliver the same performance as with internal hard disks. Rudy De Meirsman, Sales & Marketing Manager for Plextor Europe, gives the details: “Hard disks using the USB 2.0 interface typically operate at 33 Mb a second. With the eSATA interface, we can reach speeds of 200 Mb a second. As users are becoming far more mobile, they need a larger capacity external disk so they can carry their office without their PC. I’m convinced this is the way forward!”
No word on price yet. However, the PX-PH120US, PX-PH160US and PX-PH250US will be available in Europe at the end of November. Full details can be found here. Add a comment
At a recent press event, Toshiba launched its new digital video recorder (DVR), the HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301. Using its built in HD Transcoder, the RD-A301 can record 159 hours of high-def video to its built in hard drive or nearly 16 hours onto a 30GB HD DVD disc. The RD-A301 also supports Toshiba's new HD Rec feature which allows it to record up to two hours of high-def video onto a single layer DVD-R disc.

Toshiba Corporation today announced the launch of a new digital video recorder (DVR) with HD DVD drive that integrates key new features that bring greater freedom of recording to the HD DVD, including recording of HD video to standard DVD discs. The new DVR, HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301, integrates HD Transcoder, which achieves longer recording time for high-definition (HD) video, and also supports"HD Rec", which allows recording of HD video to standard DVD discs in HD quality. The RD-A301 will be available in the Japanese market in the middle of December, and advance orders will be accepted from November 1.

The RD-A301 integrates an HD Transcoder that converts MPEG2 video, the standard for digital HD broadcasts, to MPEG4 AVC, a high-efficiency video compression technology that supports longer recording times while maintaining picture quality. As a result, longer HD videos can be recorded to HD DVD-R discs. The DVR also supports "HD Rec", which facilitates recording of HD video on conventional DVD discs, such as DVD-R discs. "HD Rec" allows a single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc to store up to two hours of HD video, working in combination with HD Transcoder.
The HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301 will ship in mid-December and is expected to cost about 100,000 Yen ($868US). More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment
A few weeks ago, we reported that Verbatim had agreed to acquire SmartDisk's external hard disk drive and digital imaging business. According to a press release sent out this morning, the acquisition was completed on June 30th and includes SmartDisk's physical assets, patents, trademarks, technology, engineering and marketing expertise.
Verbatim Corporation and its parent company Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), announced today the purchase of substantially all of the assets of SmartDisk Corporation’s external hard drive (HD) and digital imaging business. The acquisition, which includes physical assets, patents, trademarks, technology, engineering and marketing expertise, was effective on June 30, 2007. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

The Verbatim brand is recognized worldwide for delivering data storage solutions with the latest technologies, the highest quality, and features that add value for the consumer. The company’s role as an innovator is especially apparent in the magnetic and optical storage markets where it has been known as a pioneer for more than 30 years. Verbatim is also enjoying an increasing presence in the global portable storage market. As part of its corporate strategy to capitalize on this trend and complement its existing portable storage product line, the company purchased SmartDisk’s hard drive and imaging assets. NPD reported that SmartDisk had a 16 percent market share in the US retail portable drive market in 2006.
If you'd like to read more, Verbatim's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
While not optical storage related, its worth mentioning that Toshiba has introduced a 250GB version of its USB 2.0 portable external hard drive. This pocket sized hard drive features a special shock mounting system and can be powered off a computer's USB bus.

Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in small form factor hard disk drives (HDDs), today added a 250GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - the highest capacity available in this form factor - to its lineup of personal storage devices and introduced a new line of internal notebook HDDs for mobile PCs to meet the growing demand for personal storage solutions.

Addressing the explosion in digital video, music, photos and information content, the new 250GB 2.5-inch portable external hard drive is capable of storing up to either 71,000 digital photos, 65,000 MP3 music files, 110 hours of DVD videos or 29 hours of high-definition videos. Toshiba's click-free, switch-free and button-free backup solution is bundled with the award-winning NTI Shadow software, enabling even digital novices to easily embrace data backup and enjoy peace-of-mind in knowing critical and cherished digital files are protected.
Toshiba's USB 2.0 portable external hard drives are available in capacities ranging from 120GB to 250GB and cost anywhere from $109.99 to $189.99. More information is available on Toshiba's website. Add a comment
Toshiba sent out a press release this morning, announcing the launch of two new digital video recorders (DVR). The RD-A600 and RD-A300 support Toshiba's new "VARDIA engine" and can record two digital HD television programs at once. The two DVR's also feature an integrated HD DVD writer, giving users the ability to record programs directly to disc or transfer HD video from the hard drive.

Toshiba Corporation today announced two high-end additions to its VARDIA digital video recorders (DVR) that add the capabilities of HD DVD recordable drives to a wide range of advanced functions. The new DVR introduce the ability to record two digital HD television programs simultaneously, and also integrate Toshiba's new "VARDIA engine", which supports significant enhancements to ease of use and performance, including faster drawing of the graphic user interface (GUI) and improved HD DVD disc operation. The HD DVD VARDIA RD-A600 and HD DVD VARDIA RD-A300 will be rolled out in the Japanese market from the end of June.

The new models offer consumers a choice of hard disk drive capacities. The 600-gigabyte (GB) RD-A600 can record about 78 hours*1 of digital HD broadcasts to its hard drive in HD picture quality, while 300GB RD-A300 can record about 39 hours*1. Both integrate an HD DVD recordable drive that can directly record HD television programs to an HD DVD-R disc or transfer HD images stored in HDD to an HD DVD-R disc. Like standard DVR, the new recorders allow users to build libraries of their favorite content, whether dramas, movies or sport, but add the ability to do so in vibrant, high definition detail, by storing HD content to HD DVD-R discs.
While Toshiba has not announced a price, AV Watch expects the RD-A600 and RD-A300 to cost about 200,000 Yen ($1644US) and 150,000 Yen ($1233US) respectively. More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment