Hewlett-Packard wants to be in every corner of the digital home.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company plans to roll out a number of new products that offer what company officials hope is a complete package of offerings for the digital home. All these various hardware components will be on display at the International CES in Las Vegas Jan. 8-11.
Starting on Jan. 8, Hewlett-Packard is slated to unveil a 12-inch HP Pavilion tx1000 tablet notebook, a touch-screen PC specifically geared toward home entertainment and automation and a new digital entertainment home server that will also have appeal to small and midsize business users.
Jan-Luc Blakborn, worldwide director of HPs digital entertainment group, said three specifics changes in the market are driving the companys technological innovation in home entertainment.
The first is the television market, where HP is looking to make an impact, and the second is the increased use of broadband. The third is the changing nature of how digital content is collected and stored.
“There is changing behavior in the market,” Blakborn said. “Consumers are looking for more connected entertainment technology.”
Like other companies at the show—notably Intel and Advanced Micro Devices—HP is looking to fulfill the role of an IT vendor that can bridge the gap between PC, content and the digital home. IBM which had been missing from CES for 10 years, is demonstrating how its technology is fueling growth within consumer electronics.
On the other hand, Apple Computer and its iTV offering, which looks to be the highlight of the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco the same week, is also looking to offer its own digital home package that will tie in the Macintosh computer, iPod, iTunes and high-definition television.
Steve Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group, said that by offering a home server to store digital content, HP might have gained an advantage in the marketplace.
“This is about media management and controlling what comes in and out of the home,” Baker said. “When you start to accumulate digital content, you need the tools to manage it, access it and share it. The time is right for a product like that.”
The digital home entertainment server, called the HP MediaSmart Server, will be available in the fall. No official price has been set as of yet.
The server uses an AMD 64-bit Sempron processor, which runs at 1.8GHz, with four USB 2.0 ports, an internal hard drive of 7200-rpm, and four hard drive bays. It will ship, for now, with either one or two hard drive bays, according to HPs configurations.
By using 750GB hard drives, along with all four bays and USB ports, the server has the ability to store up a maximum of 6TB of data.
The server will be based on Microsofts Windows Home Server operating system, but will share files with PCs that use either Windows, Linux or Mac OS X operating systems.
With its particular configurations and storage capacity, Blakborn said the server will also have cross-over appeal to SMBs that need additional and affordable storage.
HP is looking to couple this storage and server system with a home PC that the company calls the TouchSmart, which will be available to the public Jan. 30 and cost $1,899.
The 19-inch PC, which resembles a desktop, is geared more toward home entertainment rather than heavy-duty calculations and spreadsheets. HP is touting its ability to deliver entertainment content, photos, movies and other images, along with a calendar function and ability to gather local weather reports.
The touch screen PC will use an AMD Turion 64 X2 dual-core TL-52 processor, which will run at 1.6GHz, 512KB of cache L2 memory, 2048MB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) SDRAM, a Nvidia GeForce Go 6100 graphics card and a 320GB 7200-rpm serial ATA (SETA) hard drive.
The PC will use the home premium version of Microsofts Windows Vista operating system.
NPD analyst Baker said that HP is looking for a way to better integrate the PC into the home as opposed to its role as the traditional box that sits in a separate room and is removed from the rest of the house.
“There are a lot of products out there that are changing how people think about and where they want computers,” Baker said. “If you think about a Palm, or any handheld organizer, these companies are looking and trying to take that concept and make it really work in the home environment.”
In addition, HP will also roll out its 12.1-inch, 4.23-pound tablet notebook. This notebook will be available in February and the starting cost is $1,099, according to the company.
Like the tabletop PC, the tablet uses an AMD Turion 64 X2 dual-core TL-52 processor, which is clocked at 1.8GHz. The tablet also has two, 512KB of L2 cache memory, a Nvidia GeForce Go 6150 graphics card with up to 128MB of shared memory, a high-definition, touch-screen display, 2048MB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB SATA hard drive, and a 802.11b/g wireless LAN.
The tablet will also come equipped with the home version of Vista.
In addition to its PC and storage offering, HP will display several LCD and plasma televisions. These models will include, a 42-inch and a 47-inch HP 1080p MediaSmart LCD, a 42-inch and 47-inch HP 1080p LCD, a 42-inch, 37-inch and 32-inch HP 720p LCD and a 50-inch and 42-inch Plasma HDTV.
Several of the models will be available starting in the spring of 2007 but prices have not been set, the company said.