OnStream Media ( www.onstream.com ) has just begun shipping its first Macintosh product, the Echo 30GB drive. This $699 external tape drive holds 15 gigabytes (30 gigabytes with software compression) and comes with Dantz's Retrospect backup software.
A SCSI version of the drive began shipping this month. OnStream is currently shipping a USB version for Windows, and the company says it hopes to introduce a Mac-friendly USB version in less than a month. A FireWire version of the Echo drive is also in the works, and may be shipping by the third quarter of 2000.
While competing tape drives offer multiple transfer speeds, Echo is unique in that it offers variable write speed anywhere from .5 MBps (4 Mbps) to 2 MBps (16 Mbps). This translates into fewer back hitches on the tape media, and longer tape life. On a SCSI chain, the drive can transfer data as fast as a 12X CD-R drive. However, the drive can also slow down to the 12 Mbps speed of a USB bus.
With the PC version of the Echo drive, OnStream is able to stream video off of the tape directly to the desktop. OnStream says it's interested in developing software that would allow this feature to come to the Mac, but company representatives had no estimate as to when this might be possible.