It was only a matter of time before one manufacturer or another capitalised on the major missing feature of media players like the Western Digital WD TV, Popcors Hour A110 and Seagate FreeAgent Theatre and that manufacturer is LACie. The LaCinema Rugged HD offers similar high definition multimedia playback, for sure, but it also purports to be highly portable - something its rivals can't really claim.
The LaCinema Rugged HD offers 500GB of storage and will function like any other external drive when attached to a PC via USB. Hooked up to a TV via HDMI, however, videos encoded in just about any format you can think of - notably XviD, MPEG-4, MPEG-2, H.264, WMV9 and VC-1 - in every container you could want - including MKV, AVI, VOB and WMV - in up to 1,920 x 1080 can be played from the internal drive over HDMI.
A digital optical output is also present, so sound can be sent to an external decoder should that be desired. Audio format support is as comprehensive, with the usual suspects - mp3, AAC, WMA, OGG, MP4 - all accounted for. And if you really fancy it, the LaCinema will display JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG images.
Also worth mentioning is the drive's "unique varnished, scratch-protected aluminium shell" which couples with internal shock-resistant mounting to keep the drive safe and sound.
At £289.99 LaCinema Rugged HD isn't exactly cheap, but it is available now if you think that price is justified.