Hitachi's 400GB Hard Drive

Archiving high-def video and high-rez audio should become less problematic for technophiles in the near future thanks to a breakthrough development by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST).

On March 10 Hitachi GST announced what it described as "the world's highest capacity 3.5-inch ATA hard drive," the 400GB Deskstar 7K400. Designed for audio/ video applications, the Deskstar 7K400 appears well suited for use in high-end digital video recorders (DVRs) intended to record substantial amounts of high-quality digital programming.

Hitachi has designed the Deskstar 7K400 to address the growing demand for high-capacity DVRs, according to the announcement. The drive is the first to include a new industry-standard AV feature, known as Streaming Command Set. The AV feature should enhance streaming functionality in digital video applications. Streaming Command Set integration optimizes the drives for storing and retrieving digital video content on a DVR.

"Extremely high capacity disk drives are more essential now than ever with digital video recording coming into the mainstream," said Jose Antelo, a general manager at Hitachi GST. "We are now in a position to extend our consumer electronics portfolio to include the high-end device segments, most notably the nascent market for high-capacity DVRs."

The Deskstar 7K400's large capacity would allow it to store 400 hours of standard TV programming, 45 hours of HDTV programming, or more than 6500 hours of high-quality digital music. One hour of archived HD programming requires 8.7GB of storage, compared to the 4.7GB capacity for normal DVDs. Boston-based research firm the Yankee Group predicts that DVRs will be found in approximately 24.7 million homes by the year 2007. The Deskstar 7K400's 7200 rpm performance is also "well-suited to meet the rigorous demands of HDTV recording," the manufacturer claims.

Hitachi has begun shipping the Deskstar 7K400, according to the announcement.