HP's MediaSmart Server just got smarter. Thanks to a free firmware update, the Windows Home Server-running PC automatically converts video files for easy playback on an iPhone. HP also unveiled iStream, a free dedicated iPhone app, available on the iTunes App Store later this month, that can access your server from far afield, playing back those converted videos, photos and music files. If you have fairly fast broadband uploading, that video on the iPod might actually look pretty good.
MediaSmart's media streamer has also been tweaked in this update. We've been testing an EX487 MediaSmart server for about a month now, and can vouch for its helpful backup power, easy file access, and Mac Time Machine compatibility. And now a weakness of MediaSmart, video streaming, has been improved. The update extends file support by automatically converting a variety of file formats into H.264 video, while maintaining the files' original resolution. We'll have to see if this allows for smoother streaming without sacrificing image quality. A bright spot: It even converts DiVx and Xvid video, but sadly, no Matroska files.
Can't wait to check out these new features when the update ships later this month — we're eager to test both the iPod app and the server software improvements. Meanwhile, click Continue Reading for HP's press release with all the latest guff, including a list of supported file types.
•The HP MediaSmartServer Video Converter will transcode most popular video formats to an MPEG-4 (H.264) with both original and mobile resolutions.
•The original, high resolution file will stream to most devices attached to your home network including PCs, Macs and gaming systems (xBox360s and PS3s).
•The mobile resolution version of the video will stream remotely to your PCs, Macs, iPhone, iPod Touch.
•Supported video file types for conversion include: AVI (DivX, Xvid, MJPEG), MOV (MJPEG), DVR-MS (MPEG-2), MP4 (MPEG4), WMV and unprotected DVD VOB.
•Unprotected DVD .vobfiles are automatically stitched together resulting in a original quality and mobile quality MPEG-4 (h.264) version of the DVD.Copy protected (CSS) .vobfiles cannot be transcoded.
•Most Digital Camera video clip formats are supported for conversion.
•Your original source video files are left completely intact after conversion, allowing you to archive them or re-convert them at a later date.
HP Updates MediaSmart Server Software
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 13, 2009 - HP today announced the release of a software update for the HP MediaSmart Server (EX485/EX487 models), providing remote video streaming and video conversion of unprotected content.(1)
The new software enables the HP MediaSmart Server to automatically convert videos (including unprotected DVDs) into two resolutions. The original, high-resolution file will stream to most devices on a home network including PCs, Macs and gaming systems.(2)
The mobile resolution version of the video can be downloaded and played on popular mobile devices including the iPod touch, iPhone and PlayStationPortable (PSP).
The video converter will transcode most popular video formats into both high and mobile quality MPEG-4 (H.264) versions.
"This new feature will help eliminate the frustration people experience when attempting to stream their videos to connected devices in the home or remotely to their mobile devices," said Jason Zajac, vice president and general manager, Worldwide Attach Group, HP.
In addition, owners of an iPod touch and iPhone can download a new HP MediaSmart Server iStream application(3) at no charge from the iTunes App Store, enabling them to stay connected to their digital media stored on the MediaSmart Server. Users can easily access their pictures, listen to their music collection and watch their favorite videos - all streamed directly to their mobile devices from their HP MediaSmart Server.
Other software enhancements include an improved mobile streaming user experience, a more robust HP Media Collector, an improved Apple Time Machine configuration, and the ability to create public and private albums in the Photo Viewer.
The HP MediaSmart Server, designed for use with both Microsoft Windows®-based and Mac computers, automatically organizes files across PCs and streams media across a home network and the Internet.(4)
Based on the Microsoft Windows Home Server platform, the HP MediaSmart Server EX485/EX487 shipped to customers in January. Acting as the heart of the home network, the MediaSmart Server is a central repository for automatically backing up and accessing digital photos, music, videos and documents from multiple computers on a home network.(5)
Pricing and availability
The software update will be available at no charge later this month as an automatic download to the HP MediaSmart Server (EX485/EX487 models).
Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the HP MediaSmart Server EX485 with 750 gigabytes of hard disk storage is $599; the HP MediaSmart Server EX487 with 1.5 terabytes is $749.(6)
More information is available at www.hp.com/go/mediasmartserver.
HP, the world's largest technology company, simplifies the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com/.
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(1) Copy-protected files may not play properly.
(2) For Mac OS X 10.5 or later. Windows PC is required on the home network for server setup and Windows Home Server.
(3) Pending approval by iTunes App store.
(4) Internet access is required and not included.
(5)Wired or wireless home network required.
(6) Estimated U.S. retail prices. Actual prices may vary.