updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu January 3, 2008
HP MediaSmart and Vaults
HP wrapped up its primary batch of CES announcements with an upgrade to its MediaSmart HDTV equipment and MediaVaults. The HDTVs themselves now feature a refreshed look and 1080p resolution with every model as well as 802.11n wireless that ensures streaming even high-resolution video across a local network, including CinemaNow movie rentals. Its universal remote also controls as many as four different devices. The sets each bring three HDMI inputs and should be available in the spring, though HP has not supplied prices.
The MediaSmart Receiver is available separately for users who want many of the same features as the TVs while using their own screens: the glossy black set-top box connects to Ethernet or most 802.11 networks and will take most music, photos, and videos (including DivX-formatted clips) from any devices that fit the DLNA or Universal Plug and Play formats, such as Windows Media Center PCs or the PlayStation 3. A Pocket Drive slot on the front allows it to play content directly from HP's proprietary removable hard disks. The Receiver is also due in the spring and should receive a price closer to its actual ship date.
Two enhanced network storage devices will also be available along with the warming weather, the company says. The MediaVault mv2100 and its Pro mv5100 sibling gain a handful of features from the MediaSmart Server but use Linux instead: both can share iTunes music and videos to anyone on the local network and also include a photo sharing feature that allows anyone to publicly access hosted photos through a web page. The mv2100 is geared towards typical home users with a single 500GB hard drive; moving to the mv5100 doubles or triples storage to 1TB or 1.5TB respectively while also providing backup software and the option of an extra drive to expand storage or backup the network drive itself. Either will be available by spring.
A software update to the MediaSmart Server rounds out the announcements. The Windows Home Server-based system will receive multiple software updates to accommodate feedback, the company explains. In addition to improved media streaming with photo thumbnails and album covers, the device will also support Windows Vista 64-bit and will receive its own McAfee antivirus software to guard against attacks that try to break the server itself rather than attached PCs. All fixes should be available for free in February.