HP Refreshes MediaSmart Server

The software upgrade allows users to convert non-copyright-protected video into a lower resolution for downloading onto a mobile device.
Hewlett-Packard on Monday launched a software upgrade for the MediaSmart Server that includes the ability to convert non-copyright-protected video into a lower resolution for downloading onto a mobile device.

The low-resolution mobile version of video can be played on popular handheld devices, including Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone and Sony's PlayStation Portable, HP said. The original higher-resolution file will be used to stream to devices on a home network, including PCs, Macs, and gaming systems. The video converter transcodes content into the MPEG-4 file format.

"This new feature will help eliminate the frustration people experience when attempting to stream their videos to connected devices in the home or remotely to their mobile devices," Jason Zajac, VP and general manager of HP's worldwide attach group, said in a statement.

In addition, HP released an iPhone and iPod Touch application called iStream on the iTunes App Store. The application makes it possible for people to use the mobile devices to access pictures, listen to music, and watch video on their MediaSmart Servers.

Other software improvements in HP's home sever include better configuration with Apple's backup software, called Time Machine, on the Mac. In addition, HP has added the ability to create public and private photo albums.

The MediaSmart Server is based on Microsoft's Windows Home Server platform and supports Windows and Mac computers. The system organizes files across PCs and provides a central repository for backing up and accessing all content on multiple computers on a home network.

The system, introduced in late 2007, is available in two models, the EX485 with 750 GB of hard disk storage and the EX487 with 1.5 TB. The manufacturer's suggested retail prices are $599 and $749, respectively.

While getting easier to use, home servers remain a product appealing mostly to computer enthusiasts. Microsoft and hardware partners such as HP are banking on the amount of digital content created in homes continuing to grow, eventually making central storage devices a standard piece of equipment in many households.

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