Get smart with HP MediaSmart Connect

MediaSmart Connect: will display all your media on an HDTV
MediaSmart Connect: will display all your media on an HDTV

Made to synchronise with your Windows Media Centre, the HP MediaSmart Receiver was unveiled at last year's CES to quite a bit of fanfare. Then it never emerged.

Now it's here, renamed and rebranded as HP MediaSmart Connect. The machine, according to HP, will find and display all your digital videos, music and photos, whether they are stored on a notebook across the room or a desktop in a home office, in a single list on any HDTV.

The MediaSmart Connect box takes advantage of Extender for Windows Media Center, which means, much like Apple TV for Mac users, you can also watch online content on your HDTV – as long as your PC has a TV tuner that is – on what's called Internet TV Beta.

Not an HDD

Those expecting MediaSmart Connect to come with a hard-disk drive will be disappointed the big, black box merely houses the ability to take your media from your PC and play it on your flat-screen TV.

What you do get on the box is an Ethernet port, HDMI / component ports and support for all the usual media files: MPEG2/4, DivX, XviD, WMV, MP3, WMA, AAC, JPEG, to name but a few.

Speaking about the HP MediaSmart Connect, Ron Pessner, general manager, Connected TV division, Microsoft, said: "Connected CE products like these are delivering engaging consumer experiences for today's digital lifestyle.

"The new MediaSmart Connect will enable people to extend their entertainment to their HDTV from a Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate-based PC – delivering innovation as a result of our relationship with HP."

There's no UK release date as of yet, but you can pre-order the HP MediaSmart Connect for $349 (£175) from various internet outlets now.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.