By Susan Twombly, July 2008
Streaming: It's the flow of digital media from the PCs, notebooks, storage and other devices on your home network to your HDTV.
But when it comes to streaming media at your house from favorite flicks, photos and TV shows to home movies, music and more you may feel like you're up a creek without a paddle.
That's why HP.com met with Brian Burch, director of marketing for HP's Connected Entertainment group, to get answers to the questions you ask the most.
Brian: I get that question a lot! People have thousands of songs, thousands of photos and hours and hours of videos stored on multiple devices around the home, and they want to enjoy it on their "big screen" HDTV(1) with their surround sound system.
Once you have a home network and a broadband connection(2), a great place to start is with an HP MediaSmart Connect. It's an advanced digital media receiver that transforms any HDTV into a connected TV. That means whether your photos, music and digital videos are stored on a desktop PC in the home office or on a notebook on the dining room table, the MediaSmart Connect can find and stream their selected content to any HDTV through your wired or wireless home network.(3)
The HP MediaSmart Connect can discover content on many devices... from PCs running Windows® Vista®(4) or Windows XP operating systems to USB mass storage devices. It can also connect you with other online media, like digital movies, TV shows or Internet radio.(5)
You no longer need to "hunt and peck" your hard drives for content. MediaSmart provides an aggregated view of your media from up to 10 devices and displays it in lists on your HDTV screen your household music library, your photo library, your video library. And it's all easily accessed through a single remote control!
MediaSmart Connect looks beautiful, also. Besides the piano-black finish with our exclusive "Zen" Imprint and ambient blue lighting, we have embedded all the wireless antennae. It's a really sleek design that's more likely to meet with "spouse approval" for adding it to the den or bedroom.
Brian: Yes, the MediaSmart Connect is one of the first devices that can virtually do it all. Since it has Extender for Windows Media Center technology built-in, you can call up the electronic program guide on your TV and use the TV tuner on your Windows Vista-based PC to record your favorite TV shows on your PC hard drive.(4)
Then, you can stream them to your HDTV through MediaSmart Connect. So, you've basically eliminated the need for a set-top box to record your shows.
Brian: That's where the HP MediaSmart Server and HP Media Vault come in. I know what you're thinking: "Why do I need a home server?" But when you think about the hundreds or thousands of photos and the dozens of digital albums, you didn't have even a year ago, it really makes sense.
With MediaSmart Server, you can choose either 500GB or 1TB of storage capacity to start that's about 60 feature-length movies! Then use its four drive bays and expansion ports to store up to 13TB.(5) The Media Vault stores up to 500GB of content.
Both allow you to easily access, share and protect your content from a central location, and both allow you to "log into your stuff" from the road.
Brian: Our HP MediaSmart devices are not only designed to be dependable and easy-to-use, they're also compatible with just about every popular format for music, videos and photos. Whatever your "digital shoebox" can throw at it, the HP MediaSmart Server can help store it and the HP MediaSmart Connect can help stream it. That's what the connected entertainment experience is all about.
We also partner with movie download sites, online photo sites, Internet-based radio sites and more to broaden that experience for you. HP has the breadth of partnerships and commitment to open standards to make all that happen. And when you're talking about unleashing all that digital content to stream and enjoy on your HDTV, that's really what it takes.