CES: HP unveils new ‘managed home’ category

Hewlett-Packard Co. wants to build and deliver an ecosystem of connected entertainment systems.

Under the managed home category, a newly created product line for the computing giant, HP is using the CES show in Las Vegas to release a TV receiver, LCD HDTVs, three Media Vault storage subsystems, a home server and an upline storage service that will all be branded “Media Smart.”

At the heart of this offering is the connected TV which will use Media Smart technology to aggregate digital content from multiple PCs and home servers. Through an extender device running either Vista or XP users can receive on-demand movies through an 802.11abg and draft n wireless connection. Photos will also be a part of the mix, said Carlos Montolvo, vice-president of product management at HP.

Montolvo has been given a mandate by HP to build this new category. Photos and music with services such as Snapfish and Live365 radio are an important part of what HP wants to offer the consumer.

“A TV that helps you rediscover your family is what we aim to do. Most families enjoy viewing a photo slide show with music,” he said.

The Media Smart receiver and will sport a piano black, high gloss finish with HP’s exclusive Zen imprint pattern, while the LCD HDTVs will have a backlit universal remote control, redesigned speakers, panels and 2000:1 contrast ratio.

Both products are expected sometime this spring. Price is still to be determined.

“We believe these are new consumer experiences, especially when you take a beautiful display and put it in your home and have it connect to other devices and the Internet,” he said.

Challenging HP with its Media Smart line up will be Apple and its Apple TV product. However, Montolvo said the main difference is that Apple TV pushes content to the TV through iTunes, while HP’s products pull from every PC in the household through multiple devices.

The key to HP’s offering is the users will not need Media Center OS as it runs on XP or Vista. “Most households are multiple environments and need to support mixed media for a ten-foot experience,” he said.

The Media Smart screens have been refreshed, Montolvo said. The spring launch will see 42 to 47-inch screens with a 6MS response time. The units will also feature illuminated speaker grills.

Other services HP is waiting for are from Google. Montolvo believes Google is improving YouTube for the ten-foot experience and other online services such as Google Earth.

“When it comes to connected entertainment, HP’s strategy for CES sees us doubling down in Las Vegas. You know with a strong hand you double down or go all in. We will be the first CE or IT company to have a 100 per cent connected TV lineup,” Montolvo said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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