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HP Prepares For MediaSmart

Hewlett-Packard’s MediaSmart LCD TVs, shipping later this summer, will highlight access to CinemaNow movie downloads including select HD titles.

The company gave one of the first working demonstrations “in the wild” of its forthcoming 1080p 42-inch SL4278N ($2,200 expected retail) and 47-inch SL4778N ($2,700) MediaSmart models at a line review for the press here June 20.

Both sets include integrated 802.11n next-generation wireless networking, which enables streaming high-definition video while providing compatibility to existing Wi-Fi networks.

“The TV connects to your home network either wired or wirelessly,” said Brian Burch, HP global Consumer PC business unit managed home director. “It will find all of your PCs, notebooks, your HP Media Server — which we will release later this fall — and the content on those products if you are willing to share it.”

The TV will then aggregate photos, music and videos from all those devices in the home and present them to you in a consolidated list. The TV will also use a secure media portal connection, enabling the TV to make direct access to the Internet.

Partners, including CinemaNow, will have links to their services on the secure portal that HP has developed for the MediaSmart line. You click on a partner’s icon to be taken to that service and “you would navigate through the CinemaNow experience within the [secure portal] experience so you don’t have to relearn their system,” Burch said.

When a viewer purchases or rents a movie from CinemaNow, the file is downloaded to the hard drive of a designated PC within the home network.

HP has arranged a business model with CinemaNow that includes revenue sharing, Burch said. The service will offer a limited selection of 720p HD movies and programs, although, he added, using common broadband speeds and compression rates it may take some time to fully download an HD file.

HP will also offer photo manipulation services from Snapfish to view and use digital images through the MediaSmart set. Other service partners will be announced later, as will HP’s comprehensive promotion program to support the MediaSmart product launch, Burch said.

HP plans to make the new MediaSmart TVs available to “a mix of dealers.”