Sony has announced its first range of external hard disk drives (HDDs). The HD-PG5UB series offers 500GB of storage to safeguard your videos, photos, documents, digital music, and so on. It also offers high-speed transfers via USB3.0 and when using USB 2.0, Sony claims the supplied Data Transfer Accelerator software doubles effective transfer rates. The HDD is available as of this month in France, Germany, and the UK (price still not known).

The HDD comes in a choice of black or white and weighs just 180g. The smoothly-contoured case is finished in a scratch-resistant paint layer and features a single blue LED that indicates drive activity. Connection to your PC is via a single USB cable, with no separate power adaptor needed.

When you use the HDD with Sony's other products, however, things get a little more interesting. The HD-PG5U can connect (via USB) to compatible Bravia models, allowing direct recording of HD television programmes from the TV's tuner or connected cable/satellite service. The supplied USB adaptor cable also allows transfers of video footage from compatible Handycam camcorders with Direct Copy function (no PC required), including the new DCR-SX21E and DCR-SR21. Last but not least, PlayStation 3 users can connect the HDD via USB and view stored AVCHD videos and photos via the Filmy application, again with no PC needed.

All HD-PG5 models come with security and backup applications. The Password Protection Manager software uses 256-bit security to safeguard your files against unauthorized access. The Backup Manager software protects your files with automated scheduled backups.