As with the Q-Waves or Slingbox, Pogoplug is a passthrough device that lets you get at your home media content in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. It’s the brainchild of a company called Cloud Engines, so it’s no surprise to learn that it’s designed to push music, photos and video that would otherwise languish on a PC hard drive out to a network or the web, from where anyone with the necessary login credentials is able to access and play it.
At first, we were sceptical. Hard disk storage is inexpensive, so why not include some? It’s also pink (at least, our review sample is; a black model is also available). The very fact storage is cheap is the precise reason the Pogoplug is diskless: this way it doesn’t become out of date and full before it’s time. As with the web – the cloud, if you must – storage expands as needed.
So, track down a non-networked hard drive that’s chockfull of your photos and those CDs you ripped years ago, attach it to your Pogoplug, set up a Pogoplug account and you’re off. Depending on the amount of content involved – and the number of devices you want to add to your Pogoplug library – processing your media library may be the work of several hours. Your PC or Mac media libraries can also be included, as can anything stored on an iPhone or iPod touch if you have the necessary app.
Yep, as with many of the other devices here, there’s an iPhone app too. (This does only come in pink, I’m afraid.) You need to set up the software on your PC or Mac first, though. Note ,though, that while it’s all nominally free, a ‘one-time’ $29 all-time licence is needed to access your content outside your home network and, er, in the cloud.
Note that there are a couple of versions of the Pogoplug around. We tried out the basic model which, now somewhat long in the tooth, can be picked up for under £50, while the broadly similar HD model cost £69 on Amazon UK at press time. A new version of the Pogoplug is rumoured to launch in October.
If you like the idea but not the hardware, Seagate sells a £60 device known as the FreeAgent GoFlex Net that works with Pogoplug software and takes the form of a dock with room to attach a pair of USB hard drives and adds Ethernet networking to them.
Pogoplug has no hard disk, offers access to no TV channels or additional apps and yet manages to be a solid media streaming option. At £50, it’s a highly flexible option for viewing and sharing content whenever and wherever you wish.