Hitachi CinemaStar HDD Unwrapped at CES 2011

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies joins Seagate and Western Digital with two new hard disk drive families optimized for storing audio and video content.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies unveiled two new hard drive families specifically optimized and fine-tuned for the audio/video market on Jan. 4.

Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the new CinemaStar families will be available as both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. The CinemaStar 5K2000 family is a 3.5-inch drive and will be available in 2TB and 1.5TB capacities, and the CinemaStar C5K750 family is a 2.5-inch drive available in 500GB, 640GB and 750GB capacities, Hitachi said.

The consumer-electronic-optimized hard drives are intended for AV use such as in digital video recorders, IPTV set-top-boxes and video surveillance products, Hitachi said. Multiple form factors allow DVR manufacturers to broaden their product offerings while sticking with the same drive family, according to the company.

"DVR capacity constraints are becoming more acute with the ever-increasing appetite for on-demand entertainment and the desire to store, and never delete, recorded TV shows and movies," said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

The C5K750 is capable of storing up to 187 hours of high-definition video or 750 hours of standard video, compared to the 5K2000's 500 hours of HD video and 2,000 hours of standard video, said Hitachi. In music terms, that is equivalent to 188,000 four-minute music files on the C5K750 or 500,000 on the 5K2000.

Competitors have already come out with drives optimized to store audio and video, such as Western Digital's WD RE4-GP and Seagate Technology's Barracuda line. Like the competitor drives, the new Hitachi drives also feature low power consumption and quiet performance. The latter feature is particularly critical for drives being used as DVRs and video surveillance systems.

The smaller C5K750 CinemaStar comes in the 375GB per platter design and is the first consumer hard drive to use Advanced Format technology, which increases storage capacity and improves error correction capabilities, according to the product datasheet. Advanced Format increases the physical sector size on the drive from 512bytes to 4,096 bytes. According to the specifications, the drives have SATA 3G bps connectivity and an 8MB buffer. Available in three different capacities ranging from 500GB to 750GB, the small drive consumes 0.5 watts when idle and 1.5 watts during read/write operations. The C5K750 is nearly silent at 2.3 bels when idle.

The C5K750 is designed for digital video recorders, set-top-boxes, portable video players, high-end audio systems, and DVR-enabled televisions, according to Hitachi's product page.

The larger 5K2000 drives uses the 667GB-per platter design, have a SATA 6G bps interface and 32MB of buffer memory. Also quiet, at 2.4 bels during operation, the drives draw only 4.2 watts when idle.

The CinemaStar 5K2000 are specifically designed for use in HD DVRs, DVD and HDD recorders, DVR-enabled televisions, home security video centers, and media centers, according to Hitachi's product page.

Both CinemaStar drive families include specialized features such as SmoothStream for consistent data streaming, SMART Command Transport for time-limited error recovery and thermal monitoring, Coolspin for cooler and quieter operation using less power, and HiVERT for better power efficiency.

Hitachi said the drives are already being shipped worldwide, but pricing information was not available.