HP continued its home entertainment and connectivity rollout at CES 2008 with the launch of the MediaSmart Receiver, a compact set-top box that connects to an HDTV via HDMI and instantly links it to the home network. Compatible with systems running XP and Vista, as well as HP's own Home Server, it also gives access to Microsoft's Online Media download service.
Once linked, content - including pictures, music and video - from multiple PCs can be displayed on the attached TV, all in high-definition. WiFi a/b/g/n is included, with a three antenna array, and it's also compatible with the UPnP and DLNA streaming standards. Front mounted USB ports let you load media directly from a memory stick.
HP have given the MediaSmart Receiver a strange, patterned top, a little like one of those compact Zen sand gardens you're supposed to rake when stressed. Otherwise it's a generally classy, if subdued affair, with the standard piano-black finish and blue feature lighting. Neither price nor expected availability have been revealed.
The company has also put the same technology into its latest range of HDTVs, in an attempt to further popularise MediaSmart.