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HP Unveils Its Digital Media Receiver 146

strictnein writes "Looks like HP is getting into the media box market. Today they introduced their new HP Digital Media Receiver 5000 series. Some of the key specs are: Wireless networking support (on the ew5000 model), S-Video and composite video output, and MP3 and WMA support. The OS support is limited to Windows ME or XP. This is an interesting addition to their Windows Media Center based 863N, 873N, and 883N desktop models."
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HP Unveils Its Digital Media Receiver

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  • by lostchicken ( 226656 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @01:37AM (#5052958)
    Will it support ogg?
    • Will it support ogg?

      Who wants to bet that Apple will be making Digital Media Receiver's by next year? At the least, Apple will partner with HP (or somebody else besides Microsoft) to get it working. Regardless, there will be a big glowing apple on the side of some receivers by sometime next year. And I'll bet they support Ogg (they already do on the IPod).

      --naked []

      • Personally, I'd like to see Apple do just that. (Go Apple!)
      • wait, wait, wait... Are you saying that the iPod plays Ogg Vorbis files? (I don't mean iMusic. I mean iPod.) A google search seems to indicate "no".
      • And I'll bet they support Ogg (they already do on the IPod).

        Wrong, wrong. You can't play anything but MP3 on your iPod... today. I'll bet you a nickel you'll have AAC support real soon, but never Ogg.

        There's a good argument to be made that AAC is better than either MP3 or Ogg at the same bit rate. The fact that it's part of the MPEG-4 specification is so much the better.
      • by Pathwalker ( 103 ) <> on Friday January 10, 2003 @04:09AM (#5053332) Homepage Journal
        Personally, I would be happy with just support from Apple for the Vorbis audio codec in a Quicktime wrapper.

        It would be difficult for me to find a way to care less than I do about the OGG wrapper format [], but Vorbis seems to actually be a rather good audio codec. In OGG, it is decent, but in QuickTime, it could be outstanding!

        As one example, the ability for a Vorbis stream to be stripped to a lower bitrate on the fly seems to be a perfect match with the QuickTIme Packetizer API [] to create a Packetizer/Reassembler combo which can compensate for lost packets by replacing them with packets at a lower bit rate, keeping the total stream bandwidth below the specified limit!

        Plus, you wouldn't have to decode all of the headers in the stream (to read the granule positions, to determine at what time each frame starts) before being able to seek around in it, as in Quicktime the Sample Table Atom [] holds everything you need in one place.
      • Maybe you should read the +5 comments on stories before you take the description for gospel.

        iPod doesn't support ogg.

        iTunes does unofficially - but only because somebody made a module or something that adds ogg support to QuickTime - iTunes uses QuickTime as their back end.
      • You are all right, guys. Sorry about that. The IPod does not support Ogg yet. Info is here []. Details:
        • Audio formats supported: MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 Variable Bit Rate (VBR), WAV, AIFF, Audible (for Mac only)
        • Upgradable firmware enables support for future audio formats

        Thanks for the education (more polite from some, than others ;-)), I was misinformed.

        --gal []

    • MacSense and GLOOLABS [] already beat HP to the punch. Check out this story [] about the Homepod [].
  • by 56 ( 527333 )
    The wireless networking on this has interesting potential.
    • Yes, very interesting.

      In addition to the six access points at my high school and the individual ones at CVS, Food City, Dollar Den, my church, and various houses I will have even more houses to connect to?

      I doubt that I could fit much media onto my zaurus's combined 384mb of storage (128mb cf + 256mb sd). Will a full noteboot computer be required for warwalking/driving in the near future? Is there a cf scsi/ide adaptor that I could get?

      Does anyone know if this has any kind of security when it comes to the wireless connection?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Heck unless it has 802.11g/a its not even state of the art. It wont work as a media center with smart screens. THis is just another box.
  • "wireless networking....802.11b"

    Nice to know HP managed to announce it just in time for the leap to 802.11g [] :)
    • Ok, what I meant was... HP sucks.
    • .. but the 10 baseT ethernet connection sure does seem state-of-the-art!

      If I were to get one, I would need a set-top-box that has at least 100 baseT ethernet, the ability to play MPEG, AVI, DiVX, etc.., and the ability to surf the web and send and receive e-mail.. I guess that's why I have a computer in my living room. All these other boxed just don't have enough functionality for me.
      • I think you're confused, friend. You seem to think that this is a computer. It's not. It's stereo equipment.

        "If I were to get one, I would need a set-top box that has at least 30 cubic feet of storage space, an icemaker, one of those little thingies to dispense cold water from the front, and a vegetable crisper. All these other boxes just aren't enough refrigerator for me."

        See what I mean?
        • .. stereo equipment that can display pictures on the television...

          I don't see why they would bother with the video output, only to have it display pictures (and I assume some on-screen information). How much use am I going to get out of the 'look at my pictures on the television' feature? Just like the Kodak PhotoCD - How much use did their hardware (to view photos on a TV) get?

          This piece of 'stereo' equipment already has quite a bit of computer equipment in it (to play music and look at pictures), so why not just go all the way and add the movie functionality to it? And since you've already got the ethernet port, and the computer, why not just add the browser and e-mail components? See what I mean, why don't they just make a computer and put it in a fancy box?
          • I would suspect that the SVideo out is possibly so you can browse a list of MP3s or something like that.

            I wouldn't mind this as I don't want a computer sitting in my living room as it will raise the ambient noise level (which is bad enough right now with my humidifier and aircleaner) and don't really have the need for Avi functionality nor DivX. If I really wanted to see something off my computer and on my tv with the home theater system, I would probably just burn it as SVCD, but that is such a rarity that I wouldn't go looking for the functionality to be built into any media center. Even the picture feature I would probably not use.
          • I don't see why they would bother with the video output

            For the user interface. And once they had video output for the UI, adding the picture functionality was practically free, but for a little bit of software development. Adding other stuff-- like Internet access or god forbid movie playback-- would definitely not come for free.

            See what I mean, why don't they just make a computer and put it in a fancy box?

            Because people can already buy computers for their living rooms, and generally they're staying away in droves. People generally don't want computers in their living rooms. They don't want to be able to read email on their televisions. (Remember the stunning success of WebTV?) They want to be able to play MP3's on their stereos.

            Or, to answer your question in another way, "This piece of 'stereo' equipment already has quite a bit of cooling equipment in it (to keep the CPU and the hard drive from overheating), so why not just go all the way and add an icebox to it? And since you've already got the electrical plug, and the fans, why not just add a tap water inlet and one of those cold-water dispenser things on the front? See what I mean, why don't they just make a refrigerator and put it in a fancy box?"

            See my point? HP is not setting out to make a fridge. And they're not setting out to make a web-browsing, email-sending, movie-playing general purpose computer. They're setting out to sell a piece of stereo equipment for $300. Get it?
    • ...but then again, why pay for super high bandwidth on a Digital Audio Reciever? 802.11b delivers 4-8 mbps throughput, more than enough for super high bitrate digital audio (320kbps mp3 or 160kbps wma), even enough for uncompressed CD wavs at 1400kbps.
  • Besides not finding such a device particularly useful I also coulnd't help but notice the particularly hideous 70's design of the box itself. Carly is not only a bad manager, she also lacks any sense of aesthetics whatsoever...
  • ... Is there a market for this kind of thing?

    I'm a hardcore geek and have expert certification on everything from Windows 2000 to A+ certs to Novell Network certs to CISCO certs to _____ . You name it, I've done it.

    But I personally could probably just barely piece one of these "home media units" together. Furthermore, I wouldn't even know what to use it for.

    Some of us, like myself, still buy CDs from BMG and Columbia House. Yes, you read that correctly -- some of us still buy CDs.

    So, we have more need for 6 disc changes than we do for 10 GB discs of hard drives on which to store mostly-illegally-obtained mp3s.

    Sorry to rant, but:

    1) HP clearly is out of their league and doesn't know their market,
    2) No one aside from the most hardcore Slashdotter would even know what to do with one of these
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:07AM (#5053062)
      > I'm a hardcore geek and have expert certification on everything from Windows 2000 to [...]

      Hardcore geeks don't have certifications, esp. not on Windows... hardcore geeks don't have high school-diplomas, we were kicked out for turning harmless items around the school into anything we could think of that would either blow up, exit smoke or insult someone... hopefully insult someone while blowing up and covering the whole school with smoke... smoke which would be used for playing lasertag...

      > But I personally could probably just barely piece one of these "home media units" together. Furthermore, I wouldn't even know what to use it for.

      You, sir, are an insult to all the geeks all over the world; you are at most a wannabegeek... real geeks don't just put it together and use these things what they were meant to do... we rebuild and use them for a lot more than they were ever meant to do; and if we're lucky that'll mean that they eject smoke and insult someone, and blow up the PC for the guy nextdoor; his fault for running windows anyways.

      > Some of us, like myself, still buy CDs from BMG and Columbia House. Yes, you read that correctly -- some of us still buy CDs.

      Reread that... Now... think about it... no no no... really think about it... ok... Do you still insist on calling yourself a geek?

      > So, we have more need for 6 disc changes than we do for 10 GB discs of hard drives on which to store mostly-illegally-obtained mp3s.

      A geek using CDs... hey man, you like living in the 80's or something?

      > No one aside from the most hardcore Slashdotter would even know what to do with one of these

      Can't argue with that one.

      • OMG

        I heartily support your thoughts, sir.

        If you hadn't posted anon, i would befriend you. (then i would see more of your posts)

        Surely, you aren't replying anon to your own (trollish) post. That would be sick. ;)


      • I am a bit of a geek and I could make this in my sleep.

        I still buy CDs, however, they are all safe up on a shelf in a room with no CD player. I bring them home, put them in my PC and make a copy to the hard drive. You can keep your 6 disk changer, I can right-click a folder --> "play in winamp" and have a shuffled playlist of all my CDs with no space between songs.

        I don't have one of these (yet), but I do have 2 friends that do. Not this exact model but something darn close. NIETHER of them are geeks. They are just music lovers with computers.
      • I replied to you instead of the parent...
    • I collect CDs too, but do think that portable media type is the future. A simple instance where your CDs may prove to be too archaic would be when you would want to carry them around during travel and at the same time share it with folks staying back at home. Audio tapes replaced records for the same reason.

      We have already reached a threshold where such technology can match CD quality but it hasnt really taken off as a distribution medium (over the internet) thanks to a few people who think MP3s = PIRACY and few others who would love to see you shell out extra cash for another CD.
    • by Jordy ( 440 ) <jordan&snocap,com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:20AM (#5053092) Homepage
      I'll tell you the market. The market is people who want to eliminate needless hardware and centralize the interface for various components in a multi-room (or single) environment.

      If you can stick a high enough end digital output device on a PC (because no one trusts DAC's in an electromagnetically noisy PC) and make it realiable enough to store my DVD collection, my CD collection and integrate into my TV to give me PVR-like functionality while at the same time delivering content that is on-par with my originals (ie., no MP3, but AAC is ok), then I'd be the happiest person in the world.

      The problem a lot of people have is multi-room installations aren't particularly transparent. I want to be upstairs watching TV in my bedroom and pull up a TV program I recorded yesterday using the interface in my living room. Only, I don't want to know where it is stored. Hell, I don't care. The same goes for my DVD collection, my CD collection, my, uh, "picture" collection.

      Then there is all the other functionality I would like. Pulling down movies from the Internet (legally available of course), audio books and what not. Hooking into my security system to record what is on my security camera and letting me access it. Controlling lights, drapes, etc. to save electricity.

      The thing is, you can do a lot of this stuff right now. It just is all done by these little independent pieces of hardware that don't talk to eachother nicely and are rather expensive independently.

      Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
      • I think Apple had a name for this- oh yeah! thats right, The Digital Hub. Why do these ideas seem so revolutionary, Apple has been working on this ideal for 2 years at least.

        oh and i'm not trying to be an Apple zealot- havn't touched one in a year.

      • At the same time, make it simple! My home entertainment system now has 6 remotes (TV, VCR, DVD, Digital Cable, CD, Receiver). TV power and volume is one remote. Changing other channels is another. Except if it's a digital channel, when volume is on the receiver instead. Or the receiver remote which will turn on the dvd player and tv, set the receiver to dvd, but won't adjust the tv's input. Adding a universal remote has helped a bit, but it is still clumsy.

        Why can't I just stick a DVD in to the player, hit one button and everything will automatically turn on and switch to the right mode (TV to Video 2, mute, Receiver to Digital In 1, Surround mode on). Yes, I know about macros on the remote, the problem is that I can't guarantee what device is in what mode. And sometimes it's just the TV speakers, not the entire surround system.

        Technology should not need to be this complicated. Either we need one device that does everything well (allowing for things like digital cable tuners), or some way for devices to talk to each other.
    • by SuperDuG ( 134989 ) <> on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:21AM (#5053096) Homepage Journal
      I'm a hardcore geek and have expert certification on everything from Windows 2000 to A+ certs to Novell Network certs to CISCO certs to _____ . You name it, I've done it.

      Obviously with that standard A+ and level one CNE along with MCSE ... you sir are a computer genuis.

      But I personally could probably just barely piece one of these "home media units" together. Furthermore, I wouldn't even know what to use it for.

      Right, see this is a set-top box that happens to have a computer inside of it that runs and OS that most all of us are used to. That doesn't mean I want a computer sitting on top of my TV that has been rigged to use my TV-Out on the old video card. This is meant to be like a TiVO (read: Also a computer) where you don't ever have to do anything except use the remote to make it work, but it can interact with your home computer without wires (read: magic).

      Some of us, like myself, still buy CDs from BMG and Columbia House. Yes, you read that correctly -- some of us still buy CDs.

      Obviously here on slashdot all we do is STEAL them from the poor artists, hence why we hate the RIAA they just want to stop us all from breaking the law.

      So, we have more need for 6 disc changes than we do for 10 GB discs of hard drives on which to store mostly-illegally-obtained mp3s.

      Perhaps they didn't cover this in your "A+" training, but it is possible to take a CD that you own and rip it into an mp3/ogg/whatever and listen to it. But catch this, you need some type of media to store it on, usually a ... catch this ... a harddrive. 6 Audio CD's will easily fit on an CD with the songs compressed as MP3's making that 6 disc changer, non-essential, amazing isn't it?

      Catch this, you can even rip a CD ... while you listen to it, making it non-essential to rip the CD at a later time, you can even setup a cd/mp3 software "program" to do this ... automatically (read: requires magic).

      Sorry to rant, but:

      Ahh, if you apologize first that makes it impossible for jerks like me to pick apart your stupid posts ...

      1) HP clearly is out of their league and doesn't know their market, and,

      Whoa did I see a degree in economics somewhere in that mess of worthless credentials at the top of this post?? Nope, obviously you don't have any clue what the intended market is for this product as it hasn't even been sold yet and you've declared it "out of their league". When obviously there is so many greater rivals out there doing the same thing, wait a minute, no their aren't.

      2) No one aside from the most hardcore Slashdotter would even know what to do with one of these

      Well I'm guessing they'd probably be used for ... viewing media ... hence the clever name of Digital Media Receiver.

      Ya know, I remember when the TiVO came out and everyone said the EXACT same thing. That microsoft would come out with a better product to pound TiVO into the ground and that no one excecpt the uber geek would ever want to have one. Yet low-and-behold, even my grandma has a TiVO now because she doesn't like how hard it is to program her VCR. HP isn't stupid, they make computers really easy to use and asthetically appealing to the eye, look at Mac's popularity.

      I think you need to realize that you aren't as smart as HP, seeing as they're a huge company and you're a moron with a win2000 cert ... hehehehe ... you want some advice, don't ever advertise you have an MCSE on slashdot. That's like saying you love to watch linux suck.

      • I spent my last mod point just before reading this post and immediately regretted it. This is an insightful post, NOT A TROLL. By posting here, I'm undoing one of my own mods, but I think this post is worth it (and someone else has since modded up the other post I modded in this article's discussion, so I know that it won't go back to being an unseen AC post).

        Remember mods: Just because you disagree or a post is worded harshly doesn't mean it's a troll.
      • I can't believe you wasted your time putting together a response. :)
    • by Artifex ( 18308 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:54AM (#5053177) Journal
      Some of us, like myself, still buy CDs from BMG and Columbia House

      No offense, but that line just took away a lot of your credibility with most of us. Besides the fact that these vendors make money off people forgetting to return stupid cards every 4 weeks and the stupid shipping fees, why don't you buy from online sources, like this one [], which has cheap prices and free standard shipping on any size order? ("And no more you have to buy, ever!")

      Wanna know something? I have probably over a thousand legitimately-purchased CDs of music (not bragging, it's a small collection compared to many people I know, and I think it's way too many to be practical at all). For me, a 6-disc changer won't cut it. A 400-disc changer [] won't cut it, either. No, I want to be able to rip stuff to a good quality format and fill up a couple huge hard drives, just so I can page through a screen from my couch instead of having to dig through my crates of CDs or a binder full of listings of what's in a changer.

      I'm a hardcore geek and have expert certification on everything from Windows 2000 to A+ certs to Novell Network certs to CISCO certs to _____ . You name it, I've done it.

      Telling us your certs doesn't tell us a thing about what you've done. Certs are just tests of minimum proficiency; they're not basis for judging your real-world experience. You want to impress us, tell us about the software projects you code for, or the networks you've designed, or the RFCs you authored, or... even that you don't do any of these, but your company depends on you to support their internal LAN and install software for secretaries, and we'll give you respect.

      Sorry to rant, but:

      Sorry to rant, but: there is a CCNA for Dummies book [], an MCSE book [], and an A+ book [], as well. (I haven't located a "Novell for Dummies," but it's probably implicitly assumed by anyone writing for that audience, anyway.) There is no corresponding book that matches being out in the field with production servers, having to teach (over the phone) your customer's consultant enough BGP so that you can explain to him why his multi-hop config is entirely bogus, while at the same time paging through a zonefile in vi and trying to make sense of cryptic emails from someone who doesn't really share any languages in common with you, whom you can't call even if she did share a common language because of an 11-hour time difference, asking you to "please to have maked the mail fast to the new server verry improtance!" and wanting it done before her office opens in the morning so she can get her mail (oh, did I mention that you can't send her return mail, because she's already moved her mail server to that black-hole IP?) Meanwhile a customer has just walked through your office, past the empty secretary's desk (secretary having been laid off because of budget cuts), and wandered to your cubicle, asking you to escort him to his colo a few blocks away so he can collect his gear "for testing," even though you know he's on the list of deadbeats who haven't paid in months and his account manager is permanently out to lunch and you personally shut his interface down last night... and it's not even 9:25 yet? And you're "the new guy," so you have the lightest load on your team?

      Yes, some people might want to lie down on the couch and use something like this device, instead of messing with a changer or thinking about what CDs might be in the cartridge, or anything else beyond some brief pattern-recognition. Please maked it also to be bringing the soda and too the ibuprofen, verry improtance? Yes?
    • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:59AM (#5053186)
      I'm a hardcore geek and have expert certification on everything from Windows 2000 to A+ certs to Novell Network certs to CISCO certs to _____ . You name it, I've done it. But I personally could probably just barely piece one of these "home media units" together. Furthermore, I wouldn't even know what to use it for.

      I don't have any of those certifications (thank God!), but I have had no trouble pulling together a "home media unit" from scratch.

      A standard Linux install pretty much has all you need, and you have lots of choices for how to set it up--all of them pretty simple. You can set up the box as a streaming media server, or you can make it part of your own in-home P2P network, or you can handle all the music through web interfaces. You can push audio to a Linux box or have it pull it from other systems with standard commands.

      Another very simple approach is to get a Macintosh--iTunes pretty much does everything you need for that out of the box.

      So, we have more need for 6 disc changes than we do for 10 GB discs of hard drives on which to store mostly-illegally-obtained mp3s.

      I own all the CDs for the MP3s that I have. Why store them on-line? Because a computer is much, much more convenient than two 300 CD jukeboxes or, worse, lots of jewel cases and strange looking pieces of furniture.

      No one aside from the most hardcore Slashdotter would even know what to do with one of these

      My parents seem to have no trouble understanding the convenience of just selecting a CD from an on-screen list, as opposed to dealing with hundreds of jewel boxes.

      Of course, little of this applies to this HP device, which does sound much more complex, less functional, and proprietary than just getting a Mini-ITX system.

    • So, we have more need for 6 disc changes than we do for 10 GB discs of hard drives on which to store mostly-illegally-obtained mp3s.

      Even CD changers are starting to support MP3s written to CDRs. Just about any credible DVD player does now. Using that information, so I guess that gets me to ask, why this? If you have MP3s, burn them to disc and use them on such a deck.
  • Bah... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2003 @01:43AM (#5052982)
    SliMP3 [] has
    • a high-end fluorescent display
    • very nice software that runs on all platforms
    • killer web interface
    • support for unlimited music
    • open-source development community
    • hot chick on their web site.

    HP got crap reviews for their first overpriced stripped-down media PCs. I'll stick with my Slimpy, thanks.
    • ...check their conjunction w/MacWorld. $239.00/free shipping I believe...too bad it's not wireless tho. HP must be wishing they were back in the small gadget business.
    • Sure... if 13yo premenarchal teens are your thing.

      Wait! Stop! Don't reply, I don't want to know...

    • Disadvantages:

      • Kludgey custom server software
      • Who cares if kludgey software is OSS?
      • Why not SMB?
      • No optical output
      • No audio specs published. S/N? THD?
      • Open code and firmware, yet still no OGG support.
      • Why go open if you don't support open codecs?
      • Future OGG support will transcode to MPEG. Boo! Hiss!
      • No PCM support. Can't use it with losslessly-encoded tracks.

      • Kludgey custom server software
        Who cares if kludgey software is OSS?

        People who want to "un-kluge" it, can. Surely you understand the most basic concept of open source?

        Why not SMB?

        What if you have all your tracks on your Mac, or on your linux box, and you don't want to set up windows sharing (with its own headaches), and instead just want to install an app, that will then "just work".

        No optical output
        No audio specs published. S/N? THD?
        No PCM support. Can't use it with losslessly-encoded tracks.

        The last one of these is the only point that seems at all valid to me, and explains the other two. If you are starting at MP3, then an optical output is not going to make that big of a difference.

        Open code and firmware, yet still no OGG support.
        Future OGG support will transcode to MPEG. Boo! Hiss!
        Why go open if you don't support open codecs?

        See my first statement, above.

        Granted, the physical construction of the device precludes anything but mpeg being played. You have to transcode anything that isn't mp3 to mp3.

        Disclaimer: I am a (very) satisfied user of a SLIMP3.
  • $300?! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by barfarf ( 544609 )
    For $300, this thing is going to give the audiotron a serious run for the money. Wasn't their first iteration of this about $1000 a couple of years ago?
    • Here was the first version of this from HP. It was called the de100c, and was $1000. It's come a long way from 2001, baby..., 41 61,2822499,00.html /consumerelectronics /story/0,23008,3362580,00.html
      http://www.pcmag.c om/article2/0,4149,24885,00.asp
    • Yes, but the $1000 box was a much sillier concept - full linux box running HD, no networking, RealAudio, etc. This is a Digital Audio Reciever. Much better. I'm glad to see increasing competition in this space.
      • Correction!

        What? No networking? It had oodles of networking.

        More than in your little finger.. It had analog, and ethernet and lots of nice audio plugs and all sorts of stuff. You could go surf your samba-compatable share if you wished: read: you can access windows! ACK! you don't say!

        But the reason why it failed was price.. No one wanted to spend 1k on the thing. It did a lot but was way too expensive.

        People didn't realize it was no-strings-attached though. There was no content deal, tricky fine print that bound you to some contract. It was a TV/Stereo ready appliance that did one thing well: Store and manage and play MP3 and RA if you had them.

        What you say? Mp3? Oh yea.. RA/RV was just a feature after all, RealNetworks made it, so what did you expect WMA? Oh geez wait, ther's HELIX now so what does that mean. Wake UP! OGG? Jump in!

        Digital Music

        The move to the living room isn't Nobel application material. It's just that the paradigm shift of DIGITAL music to the living room is quite amazing force to reckon with. Yea it is.

        Ok lets review:

        • idec was a good product, just way too expensive and limited to just MP3 and RealMedia. fine.
        • but it could be networked like a banshee and had all the guts of a fine PC for that money..
        • Oh did I mention you could hack it to smithereens: hack your idec []
        That's the power of cheese.
  • If we leave out the folks that read Slashdot, we may see that there are a BUNCH of people that are just now buying PCs and playing around with this sort of thing. Add that to all the people that have bought Wireless Access Points, (no security enabled of course)... And now you have a bunch of people that may see this on the shelf, and say "That's for me!" Never underestimate the power of the impulse buyer! :-) And, keep in mind that this could certainly be a first generation device for this product line. Who's to say that future models won't come out that don't need the PC. HP used to sell PC-less music systems (they even ran Linux). Look at the printers, no computer needed for some models. Just plug in flash memory, and away you go. This Mediabox could be the first step in that direction. Just some random thoughts...
  • I wouldn't even think about purchasing one of these unless it did the following:

    1. Play my videos (.mpg, .avi, etc...)
    2. Displayed winamp plugins on the TV while playing music files.

  • pfft (Score:4, Funny)

    by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:31AM (#5053119)
    Video Output: NTSC, 30 FPS, 60 Hz

    NTSC? That is so 20th century. Where the hell is the high-definition version with DVI and component analog outputs? I'm not greedy; even 720p will do!

    Hell, if the XBOX can do 1080i and 720p output, this piece of junk-- er, extremely worth market entrant ought to be able to.

    I mean it's not like the thing is recording or playing back video, for crying out loud; it just does still photos. Given that most digital cameras are recording pictures in 1600 x 1200 or bigger, even a 1280x720 output would be nice, nice. But no, we're stuck with lame-ass interlaced NTSC. Pfft. I'd rather describe my vacation snaps to my friends than show them in crappy NTSC.
    • your xbox is not wireless-doesnt have bandwidth issues, case closed.
    • What about a normal RGB plug for a monitor. That way you set the computer to always put out a 1280x720 (at something like 60hz I think) signal (in HDTV a 720p, found here []) and build an RGB to component converter (basic one []).
      That way if you get a big screen that can handle a computer or component in you can just plug the RGB cable in, or if it just HDTV component only you plug that in. Although a DVI would be nice as it can offer both analog and digital signals on the same cable and you can disect for the necessar signals as needed. (Ok, just buy a DVI plug to 15-pin dsub plug thing and work from there).
      • Here's why: converting from RGB to YUV is harder than it sounds. If you don't do it just right, you'll end up with severely distorted color. Since one of the purposes of this device is to display photos on your TV, you need a really good color-space converter. Building one from scratch, or buying a cheap one at radio shack, isn't going to cut it. Unless you like your yellows looking green and your reds purple, that is.
  • by ramzak2k ( 596734 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:41AM (#5053146)
    check out the picture []. Looks very cool.

    If their target market is someone with a "home network", they better tend to needs of uber geeks and release a linux version of their software.
    • I know you mean well, but this HP you're talking about - a bunch of clowns that recently merged with another bunch of clowns and now they have a really big circus and plan a glorious future of producing expensive PCs to be sold in wal-mart - apparently that channel is where the profit is at! Consumer, consumer, consumer, geeks ask too many difficult questions! All that complicated stuff like test and measurement and calculators, well nobody was left at the company who understood what it all did. Carly's personal hair stylist had the best idea about it but was too busy with the hair to help out, so they gave all that away and will now concentrate on making shiny things, while attempting to "offshore" as many jobs as possible.

      Sadly this isn't your father's HP. They just don't give a shit about [geeks | employees | engineers | innovation] any more.
    • I know this is /. and all, but I have 4 friends with home networks and not one of them runs Linux in any form.
  • sounds like junk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stanley Feinbaum ( 622232 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .2002muabnief_retsim.> on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:43AM (#5053150) Journal
    No OGG support

    No divx support

    The only thing it was going for it is it runs windowsXP
    • .. And on top of that, it's probably the first major product with "hardware DRM". Can anyone tell me why I would want to spend several k$ on a machine that doesn't even run Linux (yet)?

      Well. This may be junk, but at least it's very expensive junk.

      The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from -- Andrew S. Tanenbaum
      • "Can anyone tell me why I would want to spend several k$ on a machine that doesn't even run Linux (yet)?"

        This is probably the most clear cut example of blind stupidity I've ever seen on slashdot. Everything is summed up in this quote.
  • Build it yourself. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PyroX_Pro ( 579695 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @02:44AM (#5053154) Journal
    For $300 I can build one myself, stuff it into an old vcr box, and play anything I want on it, including but not limited to:

    1) Music ( All formats )
    2) Video ( All formats, inc. dvd )
    3) PVR
    4) MAME, SNES, NES, ect ect ect
    5) Digi Cam Pict Viewer Gallery Thingy
    6) Internet

    Of course, I would run a cable to mine, the budget is not there to go out and buy wireless just for this. ( Plus the speed of the connection is a factor )

    You can do this too, just go out to ebay or pricewatch and do some research with google.

    Just me 2 cents worth.
    • If you build your own, what do you have for a UI. I sit in front of my computer for too many hours a day; I don't want my entertainment center to have a mouse/keyboard driven desktop application as its interface.

      I use my old AIW as a PVR, and it's pretty awful for that very reason. The only reason I don't go out and buy a TiVo or ReplayTV is because I want a product, not a service. As soon as a PVR comes out that does everything my VCR does plus the TV-on-Demand type features, I'll be first in line to buy it...even though it will not have any more functionality than the AIW. The UI makes all the difference in the world.

      ProfQuotes []
      • You use MythTV or Freevo and an IR remote. Gives you the same Tivo appliance experience.
        • Do you have any screenshots of Freevo? I'm interested...
        • I found the Freevo screenshots [] but one thing that home-grown media players that act as PVRs lack is a way to interract with cable-boxes. If you live in a region that scrambles the signal, and requires that the cable-box channel be changed to feed an unscrambled signal to the TiVo/Freevo/ReplayTV, you'll need a way for that box to send an IR signal to the cable-box. I'm unaware of any home-grown solutions that do this or even have it on their radar.
          • Don't know about software capabilities in MythTV etc. for cable box control since I have no need for that, but there are hardware projects for IR blasters as well as off-the-shelf products.
  • they will sell these things, got all the latest buzzwords. People will be standing in the aisle at bestbuy wherever, see it, read the little shiny cardboard signs, "plays and shows all your stuff from anyplace through your giant tv and stereo with remote control and walks the dog and washes your car and no wirez". they will sell a few of them.
    • Without wishing to diss HP (I worked for them for several years and sadly I'm still a shareholder) I wouldn't be quite so confident.

      HP has a long an illustrious history of doing the following:

      a) Developing genuinely great technology.
      b) Sitting on it for too long because the division heads don't believe in it.
      c) Inventing a way to derive a revenue stream from the product that makes it look bad in the market place.
      d) Finally releasing it in a butt ugly box.
      e) Canning it after 6 months cos it didn't make a billion.

      An interesting contrast to the way Sony does things I think, look at the sustained commitment they have to their technologies!

      For the sake of my shares I hope I'm wrong this time.
  • HP may be one of the first, but many of the big electronic brands are developing home av components around wireless networking. I'm surprised its taking them this long to make good on the possibilities of this!

    Actually, I just recieved some spam-like email this morning inviting me to sign up to betatest philips new 'Streamium' wireless network boombox. The betatest signups are open for a bit longer and can be reached here [] if you'd also like to sign up. The whole idea of wireless networked multimedia appliances sounds interesting, and I wouldn't mind being able to try one out. (No, I don't work for these guys, yadda yadda. . .just commenting. :)
  • Untill they get something together that can play all my divx movies along with that music its just not worth it. That and it neads to cost around 200-300 max or I wont tuch it.
  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @03:36AM (#5053268)
    Pick up this month's Computer Power User (January 2003). There is a lot of info on PC-based PVR's, including

    a) Ananad Shimpai talks high level about Microsoft Media Center Edition, the HP unit, and the hardware requirements issues (i.e. need for an MPEG encoder, high CPU power requirements so that it will keep running)

    b) PC Challenge is for a PC-based unit for Home Theater. The challenger built a butt ugly slime green unit, but the editor used a shuttle

    c) The Linux TV-out issue with Macrovision. This covered issues that I didn't know about, namely card manufacturers and home brew Gatos project are faced with either licensing Macrovision and going closed source, or don't built it at all if there is a chance it will play material which should be macrovision encoded.

    d) Alex St John talks about HP's 873n and Media Center

    and most importantly e) Malda talking about typing his column on his girlfriend's macintosh

    I think the pc-based PVR market is enormously interesting, because it serves both DIY and pre-built units in distinct markets. It brings new easy to use software to the TV, where entertainment is. And it creates a new market for selling pc's (both in lieu and in addition to a home pc)

    • There are three problems I see with this publishing venture.

      First, anything in the mag is already common knowledge by the time it lags onto the newstand.

      Second, Anand's a good judge of tech but gives away his mercilessly long reviews online for free, meaning there is no Anand deficit in anybody's life. And let's remember what subject we're talking about. In the age of the Net, paying for consumer tech market info is like being charged by your own harem.

      Third, "Computer Power User"? Er, why not just call it "No Sex Ever" and get it over with?

  • Based on the specs, this device only sends video from a computer (via a network) to the TV, but not from the TV to the computer. You'd think that if they were going to make a computer to TV/stereo interface that they would make it bidirectional to allow for TiVo-like functionality.

    Oh, yea, how long until Apple comes out with one of these devices specially tailored for use with iLife (the iTunes/iPhoto/iMovie bundle). That would be killer.
  • At CES TiVo [] announced their Media Center option. For the same price as the HP box you can get a TiVo that does pretty much the same stuff. You just have to wait until April. Here's the breakdown on costs:

    $149 TiVo 40hr or 60hr refurb.
    $ 25 USB Ethernet adapter
    $ 99 TiVo home networking option

    Some very nice features are in this new software, including integration with Apple's Rendezvous protocol (aka Zeroconf) to find all your iTunes mp3s.
    • So I'll wait an extra 4 months to get a piece of crap that's totally useless unless the company is there to give it permission to work?

      If someone goes with the TiVo option, they're investing in the company; when the company goes bankrupt, their player is useless.

      To add insult to injury, you also have to pay a monthly fee to use their product, even just the Media Center option.

      Not to mention you're comparing the price of a refubished TiVo to a new HP box

      ProfQuotes []
      • If someone goes with the TiVo option, they're investing in the company; when the company goes bankrupt, their player is useless

        Well I've been hearing this same argument for 2 years now, during which time my lifetime service has more than paid for itself.

        Not to mention you're comparing the price of a refubished TiVo to a new HP box

        Fair enough, and it could be considered an apples to oranges comparison, but I'm sure you realize that the TiVo's main feature is video recording. If you can add the features of the HP box to the best PVR on the market at a similar cost, it's a no-brainer to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I guess it will be long before I can use anything but my computer for my MP3/OGG music. I have a lot of music in Russian, with Russian filenames and ID tags. Displaying them during playback can be problematic even on the computer, but at least I know I _can_ russify most computer music players if I try hard enough. With all these closed and sealed portable/network/wireless gadgets, I don't want to even try.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:56AM (#5053622)
    HP makes money by selling underpriced printers that can only recognize and only work with their own overpriced proprietary ink cartridges. I wonder if they will use the same successful business model for their Media box.
  • Will the screen go blank when I key up my CB Radio ;o)
  • I'm not putting this next to my Audio Research SP6 until I see the glow. Okay, so maybe I will - there are those that won't though.

    The presence of tubes and audio freek specifications will be an indication that these things have truly arrived.
  • Where's SP/DIF ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you saw the DIY Ethernet Audio Receiver project, where's the SP/DIF output on this HP receiver ?

    It's nice to have SP/DIF out, as having to use the built-in DAC's is typically a compromise when you have a 6000$ digital pre-amp/processor which handles jitter correction and upsampling.

    Using both techniques, MP3 can certainly sound superior to the typical output of a soundblaster card following the AC97 spec, which resamples 44.1 to 48 Khz in a bad manner.

    MP3 can really sound high-end using the winamp3 resampler plugin and a good digital pre-amp.
  • As usual, the product spec sheet says nothing about what kinds of digital restrictions management are presently in the product, or might be enabled by future firmware "upgrades."

    We really need to lobby our congressional representatives for a law that would require simple, plain-language disclosure of any restrictions that consumers ought to know about. And assurances that the functionality we get when we buy the product will be maintained for the period of time we own the product (and will not vanish in stealth firmware upgrades).

    This is at LEAST as important as knowing the true size of a "17 inch" screen.

    Whether you favor or oppose DRM, there is no reason in the world why we shouldn't know what we're buying. In fact, the marketplace can't operate properly if we don't.
  • Dear World,

    I just want a nice case for my A/V rack so that I can build my own PC. Over the years I have acquired 300 or so CDs and would like to listen to them in a more convenient way.

    The only thing really holding me back is the case. The inexpensive CPU/mobo combos(VIA Eden) are available. Even though I may write my own interface, the underlying playback software and functionality is available. I'd be doing this more so that my wife will find it easier to use since it would look similar to my cable box guide.

    So world, do any of you all know where I can find computer cases that look sharp like the various DVD players available today and this new product from HP?

    Oh yeah, Artifex needs some time off to relax. So if his boss is reading, give him a few weeks of paid, and don't make it a severance. He's been holding all of that frustration back for to long!

    -Slashdot Junky

  • This is a far cry from their first attempt. But I'd probably still wait for Apex and the other Taiwanese cheapos to enter the market. While their devices will no doubt heat up and be ugh-lee, at least they will be even cheaper and won't tie you into some backend infrastructure or software like the big players currently are trying to (Sony requires a Vaio at the backend, HP probably requires a proprietary streaming server, Philips does the same). What you really want is something like the Audiotron that just scans network shares, but also plays video and costs $100. Considering the high integration of new chipsets and the lack of storage in these devices, I think that's a realistic price point. I'd say we'll see that within the next couple of years. Until then I'll make do with my MythTV setup.
  • by p0o9 ( 640171 ) on Friday January 10, 2003 @11:51AM (#5055143)
    Macsense introduced a Home Network Audio Player at Macworld this week. It uses technology from a company called Gloolabs ( They claim to have an "open system" approach and are looking for developers to write applications for the box. Sounds interesting...
  • I have been looking around for a product that will submit not only music file, but game sound effects wireless or usb. Most product are limited to tranmission of music file. uhh. other competitor... home pc to audio link - dal 150 jensen matrix
  • This has to be the lamest thing, but unless I'm missing something obvious, this *isn't* a PVR. It's a big box that lets you use your computer's data through your TV and stereo.

    But I see nothing that indicates it's a PVR.
  • ps2 does it for less (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Just converted my Ps2 to something that networks into my computer through a wireless network and plays my mp3's.

    I had to buy two expansions for the ps2, remote control and ethernet. I had to buy a wirless bridge for the ps2. Then the ps2 software, I am using the Qcast tuner, runs the server on linux /

    So, whole thing cost me about $150, works great, less filling...

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein