HP third gen media server gets new interface and improved Mac support (September 25th, 2009)
Product Manufacturer: Hewlett Packard
- Media Collector automates transfers
- Video Converter easy to use, configurable
- Features work on Mac or Windows platforms
- Backup works cross-platform
- Expandable to large storage capacities
- Easy-to-use interface
- Ships with 1.5TB drive
- H.264 video encoding
- Requires Windows PC for initial setup
- Some web-based tools launched in IE by default
- Media sharing sometimes requires manual configuration of ports
HP has made significant changes to the Video Converter feature. Ultimately, this is one of the best selling points about the MediaSmart Server. Once the Media Collector is set up and videos have been copied to the server, the converter allows users to assign several different profiles. If family members find themselves watching video on a computer, HDTV, iPhone, PSP, or streaming over the Internet, the Video Converter provides an easy way to set up profiles for each type of device.
Taking each video file, or even batches, and running them through a dedicated conversion program typically takes a considerable amount of time. After selecting all of the files and creating a profile, running the conversions can also strain the hardware resources on many systems. Making mistakes configuring advanced settings is also frustrating. The HP Video Converter works to eliminates many of these problems.
After creating a profile, the Console provides an interface for adjusting the output settings. Surprisingly, a full list of advanced options are available but the menu layout is very intuitive and definitely not intimidating. Users can quickly see the resolution on a comparative template, along with a color-coded graph which shows the required bandwidth. Adjusting any of the settings will change the bandwidth meter. If someone wants to stream 720p HD videos to their HDTV but they only have a WiFi router capable of 802.11g speeds, the meter clearly shows that the HD720 preset needs additional bandwidth in the 100Mb/s range.
Any content that has already been transferred to the Server hard drive is converted locally and automatically. Primary computers do not need to be turned on and supplying resources to run the video conversions. After ripping a DVD to a computer, the Media Collector quickly grabs it in the background and lets the Video Converter go to work. Without any intervention, the ripped DVD is available to stream remotely or transfer onto a portable media player.