In advance of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, HP today unveiled a range of products and partnerships targeting the home entertainment market.
The company lifted the lid on an expanded family of multimedia PCs, which it calls entertainment hubs, and promised to add high-definition ATSC tuning capabilities to its current HP Digital Entertainment Center.
Two models are expected to ship this spring with different storage, graphics card and tuning options.
In addition, HP showed off what it claimed is the industry's first HDTV media hub, a PC-based offering that enables consumers to access and manage digital photos, music, TV and video combined with the capabilities of HDTV, a digital cable set-top box and a dual-tuner digital video recorder.
The HP media hub, expected for release in late 2005, will launch with an electronic programming guide designed to allow consumers to find and record content.
It will also incorporate a music information service that automatically provides song titles, CD artwork and other artist information.
HP is also enhancing its LightScribe disc labelling technology to make it 50 per cent faster, and will license the technology so that it can be offered by other PC makers as well as DVD manufacturers.
Desktop and notebook PCs to be introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show include the Compaq Presario SR1350NX Desktop PC, HP Pavilion Desktop PC (a830n or a820n) and the HP Media Center m1280n/m1270n.
Additionally, HP promised to introduce a full line of HDTVs and home theatre projectors in 2005 based on its 'visual fidelity' technologies, which enables twice the resolution of digital projection displays without increasing the cost.
"Digital entertainment is about enabling consumers to enjoy, manage and interact with all kinds of content from any source in a simple, easy way," said Carly Fiorina, HP chairman and chief executive.
HP also announced recently expanded partnerships and a channel expansion. The company has teamed up with Philips to jointly launch the Video Content Protection System, which automatically adheres to recording rules for the consumer but remains transparent to the viewer.
The vendor has also sealed an alliance with Panasonic to make it easier for consumers to use DVD media between their digital electronics and PCs by incorporating DVD+R and DVD-RAM formats into the companies' respective DVD products.
HP and Panasonic plan to co-operate on products that support the Blu-ray high-definition optical disc format.
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