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HP takes desktops out of the office and into the living room

Hardware vendor makes tactical shift at the CES show in Las Vegas

HP has released a series of desktops and monitors that have a new look and a new place.

Under the Pavillion brand, HP has produced three slimline PCs and two monitors that are one-third the size of a conventional tower PC. These machines, with a starting price point of $999, are between $400 to $500 more expensive than previous PCs. The company is positioning these slimline PCs and monitors as consumer electronics products with a comparable price to TVs in the market according to Sean Patterson, senior product marketing manager for HP.

Besides slimming down the PCs, HP has also changed up the way the machines look by dropping the silver finish in favour of piano black. Patterson said consumers believe the piano black finish is of high quality.

“The dream of the connected home is the two foot experience with media on a server to the 10-foot experience on a TV to look at show and your photos,” Patterson said.

Another factor is in the onset of Internet TV. Patterson said that it’s still in the early adopter phase. “The thing is that content is not as great as your regular TV and it is not going to overtake satellite or cable TV today,” he said.

However, with the Pavilion series of slimline PCs and monitors you can watch Internet TV, he added. “This just gives you an option in your digital lifestyle. You create the content, download the music and watch your photos.”

HP dipped its toe in the consumer electronics waters about 18 months ago with two SKUs and it has now expanded to three, and Patterson believes it will grow to four with higher price points. HP’s strategy with home PCs is to appeal to a broader set of consumers.

Its channel strategy for the Pavilion slimline PCs is to work with digital home integrators and mass market retailers such as Best Buy and Future Shop.

“There is a lot of competition for consumers’ eye. The PC is core for the home and the cycle is three to four years as a core appliance that consumers want in their home. The PC is expanding the things people can do in their home such as watching video, gaming, YouTubeing, and visiting virtual worlds such as Second Life,” Patterson said.

New to the Pavilion line is the Elite PC. Patterson calls this machine the company’s highest performance PC. The Pavilion m9100 Elite PC has an backup button to instantly back up files along with nVidia GeForce 8500 GT graphics card, AMD Phenom quad core 256 graphics and it will run the Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition.

“It has tones of storage and is designed around Media Center. If you use Media Center for recording TV or doing Internet TV it supports all of that. If you are recording HD or TV on the slimline it will have 750 GBs of hard drive space,” he said.

HP is also providing the option of personal removable storage of up to 1 terabyte.

The Elite PC starts at $1,199 and is available in mid-January.

Also available are the Pavilion Slimline s3330 PC, the Pavilion m8330 Media Center PC, the w2207h 22-inch widescreen monitor and the w2408h 24-inch monitors.

According to Patterson, the monitors have ambient light sensors that ease the adjustment of your eyes in the living room. The monitors also changes from a landscape to a portrait view.

The monitors will be available on Feb. 3rd and will start at $349.