HP Teases New Digital Entertainment Centers

Amidst an ethnical controversy which has already seen the resignation of board chairwoman Patricia Dunn, HP is showcasing two new Windows-based digital entertainment centers at the . trade show in Denver. The HP z565 and z560 are Windows Media Center-based media systems which offer DVR capabilities, HDMI output, a progressive scan DVD player, a 9-in-1 media card reader, and 800 GB of storage for recorded TV, home movies, photos, and other media. The new systems also feature fixed-line audio output (to help integrators and home theater installation specialists integrate the systems with existing theater setups and home media management systems) and will ship as Life|ware Ready® status, meaning its compatible with home and media management technology from Exceptional Innovation of Columbus, Ohio.

“CEDIA dealers have told us that they want products and solutions that help them grow their businesses,” said Jan-Luc Blakborn, HP’s director of Digital Entertainment for North America. “Industry-standard solutions such as the new HP Digital Entertainment Centers with Life|ware use the Media Center operating system to scale up or down for installations from the modestly priced to the very high-end.”

HP hasn’t announced pricing, availability, or detailed specs on the z565 or z560, but if the existing z558 is any indication, you can expect dual NTSC tuners, 802.11a/b/g wireless networking, either Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processors, and possibly Nvidia GeForce graphics. And, if you don’t happen to he a rocket scientist capable of installing all this stuff yourself, HP has also announced it has created a dedicated call center and training program for custom installers. That way, when the people you’re paying to install all this stuff get stumped, they have someone to call.

(Small irony point: HP constantly refers to these systems as DECS—Digital Entertainment Centers. DEC used to refer to Digital Equipment Corporation, which was a leading maker of mainframes and minis in the 1980s and early 1990s. DEC was acquired by Compaq, then Compaq was acquired by HP.)

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