Back around CES, HP announced that they were creating an updated line of MediaSmart TVs with built-in Microsoft's Media Centre Extender support. Now those models have been unleashed on the public. A couple of 1080p LCD HDTVs with a modest 2000:1 contrast ratio, the HP SL4282N (42", US$1,900) and SL4782N (47" US$2,400) support wired and Wi-Fi connections to your home network. It's a neat, convenient idea from HP, but you could definitely score a more spec-impressive image in the US$2,000+ LCD game. Also of note, existing MediaSmart owners can now download a firmware update that brings Media Centre support to their older-gen TVs. Here are the full details:
HP Upgrades the Digital Entertainment Experience with Industry's First Integration of HDTVs and Media Centre Extender
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 17, 2008 - HP today announced it is the first company to release Microsoft's Media Centre Extender capability to an Internet-connected TV.
With the capability, people using HP MediaSmart TVs not only get access to rich content from the Internet(1) but they also can enjoy their own digital treasures from their home PCs on a big screen high-definition TV (HDTV).
Extender for Windows® Media Centre enables MediaSmart TV owners using PCs with Windows Vista(TM) Home Premium or Ultimate to go beyond simply watching TV to enjoy pictures, music, videos as well as a world of online services and on-demand TV.(2)
The capability will be included on all new HP MediaSmart TVs and provided automatically to owners of second-generation MediaSmart TVs. Extender for Windows Media Centre also will be included in HP's upcoming digital media receiver - the MediaSmart Connect - which is planned to be released later this year and will make any HDTV "MediaSmart."
HP MediaSmart TVs combine 1,080p clarity and advanced wireless technology to provide a stunning, high-definition(3) LCD TV experience for viewing photos, listening to music or watching video on demand. MediaSmart TVs find digital media whether it is stored on a notebook across the room or a desktop in a home office(4) and brings it together in the MediaSmart TV interface for playback using a TV remote control.
Additionally, using HP's MediaSmart interface, consumers can rent or purchase thousands of movies from CinemaNow, share and purchase photos from Snapfish, discover new Internet radio stations from Live365, or access personal content from multiple Windows XP or Windows Vista-based PCs or devices such as the HP MediaSmart Server or HP Media Vault.
"Consumers everywhere want new ways to discover, enjoy and share digital entertainment and HP is making this opportunity real," said Carlos Montalvo, vice president of marketing and services, Connected Entertainment Business, HP. "With the ability to use a premium HDTV to easily access on-demand web and personal media from any PC in the home, there's never been a more fun time to hang out in the living room with friends and family."
Since Extender for Windows Media Centre is built into HP MediaSmart TVs, there is no need to hook a PC up to the TV: The TV brings the content from Windows Media Centre over a wired or wireless network directly to the screen. It also brings a bevy of new content from movie services such as Starz, Vongo and MovieLink and up-to-the-minute sports information from FOX Sports.
Windows Media Centre also features the Internet TV Beta, which brings more than 100 hours of video from MSN, including new shows from providers such as: A&E, Bio, CNBC, DIY, Fine Living, Food Network, FOX Sports, Happy Tree Friends, HGTV, History Channel, iFilm, JibJab, MSNBC, National Geographic, NBC News and StupidVideos.
"As the first manufacturer to integrate Extender for Windows Media Centre into a TV, HP is leading the way in whole-home digital entertainment powered by Windows Media Center," said Ron Pessner, general manager, Connected TV division, Microsoft. "Consumers can easily enjoy movies, music, pictures, online services or even live and recorded TV by using a remote control with the Windows Media Centre user interface."
HP MediaSmart TVs offer three HDMI ports, wired and wireless (802.11 A, B, G(5) and dual-band draft N)(6) network connectivity and support for other UPnP- and DLNA-compliant devices.
Making it easy for the whole family to enjoy photos and videos together in front of a big-screen TV, HP MediaSmart TVs support a wide range of video and audio formats, including: JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PNG; MPEG, XVID, DVR-MS, WMV and AVI; MP3, WMA, WMA Pro and AAC (unprotected).
The firmware upgrade is now available directly on Internet-connected HP MediaSmart TV model numbers SL4278N and SL4778N. Windows Media Centre is available on Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate-based PCs.