Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA media drive review

Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA


Build quality




Ease of use







  • Easy to use
  • Very quiet
  • Compact
  • Good quality build
  • Never miss a TV show again


  • Might seem expensive to some

buffalo drivestationWe are consuming more media when we want to these days, rather than being tied down to fixed scheduling. Streaming on demand is all well and good but what happens if the programme isn’t featured on one of the catch-up services though? The Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA hard drive is here to, literally, save everything.

External hard drives are pretty handy things to have around and, as we’re recording and streaming a lot of our content, a drive that can live in our living room that isn’t bulky, noisy or runs hot would be an ideal solution. Especially now that we’re in to Euro 2016 season!

Well, that’s what Buffalo seems to think.

Buffalo DriveStation design

The Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA is a rather compact recorder and it has been specifically designed to sit next to, or on top of, the likes of your DVD player or TV box.

Personally, I have placed this one under my Panasonic TV where it fits perfectly, adding some symmetry with my Android TV box that sits on the other side.

The DriveStation is available loaded with either a 1, 2, or 3 terabyte 3.5-inch SATA hard drive on the inside. The one I have been sent for review is the 1TB model.

At just 20 cm wide, it doesn’t make its presence felt at all – it was a number of days before my girlfriend realised that there was another box sat in the AV stack. But, that’s the whole point of its stealthy looks.

This, I can only put down to a very clever bit of design work from the team at Buffalo – that and the lack of interest my other half has in some of the bits of tech I add to our home.

Not only did Buffalo spend time making it look good/invisible, but they also made it quiet.

Inside the DriveStation there are vibration-dampening rubber elements, and no whirling fan to annoy you whilst you’re in the room.

This means that, even when the drive is being written to, there is hardly any hint of the typical crunching and whirring of a disk drive. What sound it does emit will almost certainly be lost over the distance between your TV and the sofa.

buffalo drivestation topAround the back of the DriveStation you’ll find just two ports, one for power and one for data – but more design work is evident around here too. Instead of your regular flat slab panel, the port area of the drive case is narrower. This means that the power and USB 3.0 cables don’t sit proud of the case and so allows you to push the Buffalo DriveStation Media hard drive to the very back of a shelf or cabinet, and the wires are free to trail out of the side, downwards or upwards depending where they need to go.

As a side-effect, this makes the drive look like it is some kind of modular unit or, perhaps, a mini games console.

All-in-all, the DriveStation’s size and style suits the job it has been designed for – small enough to sit with/under/near your skinny TV and plain enough not to distract from your viewing pleasure, yet also stylish enough not to have been whacked in to submission by an ugly stick.

The DriveStation measures 207mm x 123mm x 40.5mm (W x D x H) and weighs a mere 900g.

Buffalo DriveStation performance

The Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA is awesomely plug and play, which is ideal as most buyers of this gadget will be more interested in saving shows than getting down and dirty with setting up their tech.

Just think, you could be up and running, recording all the Euro 2016 football matches to save and watch over and over again in under 5 minutes – not sure if that’s going to be a good thing or not just yet.

buffalo drivestation angleOnce I had plugged one end of the USB cable in to the DriveStation and the other end in to my Panasonic telly, it was just a case of plugging in the power lead and using the TV’s menu to recognise the drive and format it appropriately. Job done.

The DriveStation powers on and off automatically with whatever it’s plugged in to and, no matter what I connected it to, it was discovered by them all.

buffalo drivestation dali menuetThe USB 3.0 connectivity is a definitely bonus as the increased speeds when compared to 2.0 are noticeable when transferring video. The drive has a rated transmission rate of 5 Gb/s max.

Recording and playback quality was great and having it linked to the television to record bits not covered by the on-demand channels is something I could easily get used to. Especially as the alternative may be a little…. Copyright ambivalent, shall we say?

Buffalo DriveStation review conclusion

The DriveStation HDV-SA does exactly what it promises to do – record your favourite shows so that you can watch them whenever you want to.

It’s rather subtle exterior means that it can sit there quietly (and it is very quiet) doing its thing and you will hardly notice it.

The Buffalo DriveStation media hard drive HDV-SA is one of those plug and play and forget items that you will only feel its purpose when it’s taken away.

Every home that has sports fans or telly lovers should have one of these.

Buffalo DriveStation HDV-SA price and availability

The DriveStation HDV-SA is available now for around £85. For more information head on over to Buffalo’s website.