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HP To Unveil Digital Entertainment Centers

Hewlett-Packard will use CEDIA Expo to unveil a pair of Digital Entertainment Center (DEC) PCs, including a step-up unit that was designed from the ground up to work with custom installers.

The company will show off the units at its House of Electronic Lifestyles exhibition at the show. The models — the HP-z560 ($1,799 suggested retail) and HP-z565 ($2,999) — will ship in October with Microsoft’s Media Center operating system, and will be Windows Vista upgradeable.

Newly added to both DECs is HDMI connectivity. Additionally, both models include a substantial performance upgrade.

The HP-z560, which will have open retail distribution, will include a 3GHz D945 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 300GB internal hard drive and are Viiv ready.

The HP-z565 will offer a 3.4GHz D 945 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB internal hard drive, a 300GB removable personal media drive, and is Viiv ready.

Both models also include Super Multi-Drive DVD burners, dual NTSC tuners and one ATSC tuner for over-the-air broadcast reception.

The HP-v560 and HP-V565 will be the first Media Centers to be certified “Life/ware ready” by Exceptional Innovations. The software developer has created a home automation software system designed to sit on top of properly configured Media Center PCs to provide a range of home automation capabilities. The software enables control of household lighting, security and other applications.

HP and Exceptional Innovations will demonstrate the capabilities at the Home of Electronic Lifestyles presentation area.

“Exceptional Innovations Lifeware software sits on top of the Media Center operating system to offer full home automation capabilities through the Media Center interface,” said Joshua Rush, HP Digital Entertainment marketing manager.