HP's EX485/7 iteration of their MediaSmart Server is official, and now comes with a revamped UI, remote music and photo streaming capability, and is the first non-apple NAS product to support Time Machine.
Though it looks the same on the outside, the hardware received a bump, now using a 2.0 GHz Celeron processor and 2GB DDR2 RAM. It comes in 2 storage configurations— a 750GB server or a 1.5TB server. The MediaSmart server is still built on top of the Windows Home Server platform, but makes use of a couple of additional software to enhance functionality.
First, HP tapped Twonky Media to handle their remote streaming backend. As such, you can access all your audio files and photos from any web browser with a broadband connection. You can either enter your home IP address or set up a free custom HP domain that will quickly forward you to your server. From there, a media player UI appears and your entire library is at hand. The only downside is that, when not streaming over LAN, it transcodes your MP3s at a 128kbps bitrate, apparently to minimise choppiness in streaming (bleck).
A couple of other nice features that are new for the EX485/7 are the media collector feature, which will scan and watch any folders or drives from your computer, and will gather them on the MediaSmart Server. Also new is that you can connect to Amazon's S3 cloud, and gain another layer of data protection.
Secondly, HP worked with Apple to get MediaSmart Server up and running OSX. Not only is there a Mac version of the software, but they also got Time Machine working with the device, which can do scheduled backups over the air. However, being that it is Windows Home Server, you still need a PC to set up the server, and cannot carry out any admin functions from a Mac.
That aside, much of the same functionality from the last version of MediaSmart Server is still there, such as UPnP streaming of video, photos and music, photo albums that can be published directly to the web, downloadable add-ons (like a bittorrent client), and storage in a RAID-esque, "balanced" configuration. It also has 4 drive bays, 4 USB drives and an eSATA port for adding additional storage.
As far as availability and pricing goes, the updated MediaSmart Server will be available for order on January 5, with the 750 GB EX485 selling for $US600, while the 1.5 TB EX487 costs about $US750. [HP MediaSmart Server on Giz]
HP Launches New Home Server for PCs and Macs
HP MediaSmart Server centralizes digital media and files for backup, remote access, sharing and uploading to social media sites
PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 29, 2008 - HP today launched a home server designed for use with both Windows and Mac computers.
Based on the Microsoft Windows® Home Server platform, the HP MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 is a central repository for automatically backing up and accessing digital music, videos, photos and documents from multiple computers on a home network.(1)
The MediaSmart Server automatically organizes files across all PCs, streams media across a home network and the Internet,(2) and publishes photos to popular social networking and photo sharing sites.
"A growing number of digital-savvy households have both Windows and Mac computers, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of media files and documents scattered across these devices," said Jason Zajac, vice president of strategy, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. "The HP MediaSmart Server protects, stores and organizes this content from anywhere on a network so consumers can access and share it any place they are connected."
"HP continues to innovate on the Windows Home Server platform giving consumers even more options to enjoy and protect their precious memories and valuable data," said Charlie Kindel, general manager, Windows Server Solutions, Microsoft. "We believe consumers will embrace the new MediaSmart Server as one of the most exciting computing products for the home."
MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 features include:
· HP Media Collector: conveniently schedules the MediaSmart Server to copy and centralize digital files and libraries from networked PCs
· Media Streaming: remotely streams photos and music to any Internet-connected PC or Mac
· Server for iTunes: centralizes iTunes music libraries on the server for playback to any networked Mac or PC running iTunes
· HP Photo Publisher: easily upload photos to Facebook®, PicasaTM Web Albums and Snapfish(3)
· HP Photo Viewer: allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family
· PC Hard Drive Backup: backs up networked PCs via the Windows Home Server backup feature
· Mac Hard Drive Backup: backs up Macs running Leopard using Apple Time Machine software
· Server Backup: duplicates designated shared folders to a separate hard disk drive
· Online Backup: duplicates designated folders to Amazon's S3 online backup service for an additional layer of protection
· Smart Power Management: can schedule times for server to go to "sleep" and "wake up," saving on energy costs
· Processor: Intel® Celeron®, 2.0 GHz 64-bit. Two gigabytes (GB) of 800-MHz DDR2 DRAM now standard on MediaSmart Server
· Expandability: additional drives can be added for up to 9 terabytes (TB)
"Customers are always looking for the right mix of features and ease-of-use when choosing digital home products," said Danielle Levitas, group vice president, consumer, broadband and digital marketplace at IDC. "HP's focus and investment in software allows it to deliver a home server with compelling features for Mac and PC users while offering a great customer experience that helps simplify the complexity of the connected home. This unique offering will help expand the home server market."
Pricing and availability
Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the HP MediaSmart Server ex485 with 750 GB of hard disk storage is $599 while the HP MediaSmart Server ex487 with 1.5 TB is $749.(4)
The HP MediaSmart Server can be pre-ordered beginning on Jan. 5, 2009, from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Buy.com, Frys.com and NewEgg.com; it is expected to ship in February.
The first 200 consumers who visit HP Home & Home Office (www.hpshopping.com) or call +1 888 271 2982 between Jan. 5 - 11, 2009, to reserve a MediaSmart Server and use coupon code "AC5674" will receive a $50 savings off their purchase.(5)
More information is available at www.hp.com/go/mediasmartserver.