Maxtor has unveiled its Shared Storage Plus solution for Mac OS X, which ships in February 2006.

The network storage (available with up to 500GB storage) product is cross-platform and designed to be a repository for digital media and other content.

Home users could use it to simultaneously listen to a music collection via a networked sound system upstairs, play movies on a networked theatre system in the living room and view a slide show of recent vacation photos on a laptop in the kitchen.

Built for small networks

Up to 20 users can simultaneously access and protect their files using multiple Macs or PCs on a shared network. It supports Bonjour for automatic network configuration, and includes two USB ports to connect and share two USB printers or two additional external storage drives or one of each.

A quick-start CD automatically gives Mac or PC users a desktop icon for easy access to a shared public folder and a set of personal, password-protected private network folders.

Industry-compliant media serving capabilities allow users to stream content on compatible UPnP AV digital media adaptors for viewing content on televisions or listening to music on stereo systems.

The device can automatically identify and sort over 100 different file types and put them in specific music, photo, movie, web, software or documents folders.

Media, save yourself

"After years of helping the Mac community store and protect data, our simple, elegant and automatic back-up experience is now available for Mac users across our entire family of Maxtor OneTouch and Maxtor Shared Storage external storage and backup solutions," said Stacey Lund, vice president of marketing.

Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations said: "As the use of digital media grows rapidly there's strong demand for a centralised place to securely store, back up and share content so we are delighted to see Maxtor make it easier for Mac users to protect their digital media files."

Maxtor Shared Storage Plus network storage solutions will be available worldwide in February. The systems cost £209.90 for the 200GB drive, £279.90 for the 300GB drive, and £349.90 for the 500GB drive.