LaCie has announced the UK availability of its LaCinema Rugged multimedia external hard drive. Three versions from 250GB to 500GB are offered, with the smallest model costing £129 inc VAT.

The LaCinema Rugged has an HDMI port so it can be connected to a high-definition TV and can serve up recorded TV programmes, music, photos and video straight from the drive.

The LaCie drive is similar in concept to Plextor's multimedia drive.

LaCie has encased the USB 2.0 drive in a heavy-duty aluminium to maximise its shock resistance. The external hard drive is also fitted with an internal anti-shock mechanism to protect the platter and prevent data loss.

Designed for use with both Windows PCs and Macs, content can be loaded on to the LaCinema Rugged drive via its USB 2.0 connection. Both HDMI (high definition media interconnect) and composite video connectors are included, so videos, music and photos can be enjoyed on either a standard or HD TV screen. The drive is able to upscale standard-definition video footage so that it looks almost as good as 'true' 1,080i HD video.

"The LaCinema Rugged is the long-needed solution to the challenge of entertainment on the go," believes Christelle Dexet, LaCie's multimedia product manager. "The Rugged's triple protection design and larger capacity options mean users can be confident transporting their digital entertainment collections to any location for enjoyment."

The LaCinema Rugged is compatible with the following digital formats and can store up to 700 movies, 125,000 songs, or 500,000 photos, depending on the format and file sizes used. As well as being a multimedia player, the LaCinema Rugged can be used for more mundane data storage.

The three capacities currently offered are 250GB, 320GB and 500GB. The LaCinema drive can be bought through the LaCie online store or through selected resellers.

Audio: MP3, WMA, AC3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC**
Video: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI, VOB, IFO, ISO), MPEG-4 (AVI, XviD)
Photo: JPEG (up to 8M pixels), GIF, PNG, BMP
Capacity: 250GB, 320GB, 500GB***

LaCie La Cinema Rugged external hard drive