Hitachi Announces 1 Terabyte Hard Drive Pair

Hitachi on Friday announced a pair of 1 terabyte (TB) hard drives and a new software technology targeted at digital video recording (DVR) applications. The one-two disk drive punch aims to tap into what the company sees as users’ insatiable desire for storage.

Hitachi’s Deskstar 7K1000 hard drive targets consumers who want to create, share and store their digital information — and lots of it. The Deskstar 7K1000 will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2007 and will cost US$399.

“With graphics, video and multimedia applications, you can really use as much memory as you can possibly get,” Rob Lineback, senior market research analyst at IC Insights told TechNewsWorld. “It’s sort of like moving into a bigger house. You think you have a lot of room, but you fill it up quickly. You just can’t get enough storage for those applications.”

High Definition Programming

Along with the Deskstar 7K1000 for the retail market, Hitachi also announced a CinemaStar version of the 1 TB hard drive for streaming high definition DVR applications.

High-definition video requires four to five times more storage capacity than standard definition video. One TB of storage can hold almost 250 hours of HD programming, Hitachi said.

“Consumers who increasingly rely on hard disk drives to store their digital memories are seeking higher capacity and more reliable [drives],” said John Rydning, research manager for hard disk drives at IDC.

“Reaching 1 TB of capacity in a disk drive is a testament to 50 years of innovation by the hard disk drive industry, and helps to ensure sufficient storage capacity is available to meet increasing consumer storage requirements,” he added.

Storage Gluttons

Hitachi’s CinemaStar demonstrates how hard drive technology is finding its way into a broader range of applications, including embedded storage. The issue of speed of access to large volumes of memory will soon become a bigger issue, Lineback predicted.

“We’ll see products that offer NAND flash-based cache subsystems that are built into the drive as a hybrid drive in the future,” he noted. “That will probably help the hard drive companies push the densities much higher, which has to happen or semiconductor solid-state storage makers will take away some of the business.”

Managing the Mix

Complementing the CinemaStar hard drive, Hitachi’s AVSM software technology is designed to manage the mix of high-definition video streaming and file operations, such as electronic program guides or background IPTV downloads present in set-top box applications.

AVSM technology gives the set-top box system the ability to distinguish between streaming applications, such as movies and streaming media, and non-real-time applications, such as electronic program guides, IPTV (Internet protocol television) downloads and photo viewing.

Through “smart” hard drive management, AVSM technology aims to help reduce duty cycle by up to 60 percent and eliminates disk fragmentation, ultimately helping to extend the life of the hard drive and the host set-top box system.

The CinemaStar drive will ship later in 2007; pricing information has not yet been released.

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