HP Brings LCD, Plasma TVs to CES

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Folks might think of Hewlett-Packard as a company which makes boring productivity gear like beige computers, beige printers, and the occasional non-beige scientific calculator, but the company is increasingly chasing the consumer electronics market and has introduced a bevy of LCD and plasma-based high-definition televisions at this year’s CES.

As part of its 2007 offering, HP is rolling out two LCD-based MediaSmart HDTVs (the SL4278N and SL4778N), offering 1080p resolution and screen sizes of 42 and 47 inches, respectively. These are balanced by the LC4376N and LC4776N 42- and 47-inch LCD 1080p LCD TVs, and three LCD panels (the LC3272N, LC3772N, and LC4272N) offering 720p resolution and screen sizes of 32, 37, and 42 inches, respectively. And HP is in the plasma television game, offering 42 and 50-inch units (the PL4272N and PL 5072N) with 720p resolution.

HP’s MediaSmart TVs are designed to tie into users’ existing wired or wireless home networks, enabling them to access photos, music, and videos from other computers and media sources in the household, as well as access selected Internet services like the CinemaNow digital movie download service, with support for Live365 and Rhapsody music services expected later in 2007. The MediaSmart TVs have three antennas integrated into the bezel, offer pre-N 802.11 wireless networking, and software which enables the TV’s to connect with multiple PCs around the home to act as a central media hub—the new MediaSmart TVs also sport DivX certification, and are designed to work with Windows XP and Vista, as well as Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Home Server.

For folks looking for a more-or-less standard HDTV, HPs LCD and plasma televisions offer HP’s Visual Fidelity technology which the company claims offers adaptive noise reduction, photorealistic sharpness enhancement, and 3D color enrichments. The displays also boast three HDMI inputs (all supporting 1080p), as well as PC, RS232C, and WSD bridging capabilities for custom integrators. And HP’s plasma sets feature concealed stereo speakers.

HP hasn’t offered any pricing or availability information on the new displays…but the company is touting a $15,000 ConnectedLife.Home home entertainment solution through Best Buy for Business which can be installed into new or existing homes without rewiring. HP says up to 30 million U.S. homes will be using home networks as part of their entertainment options by 2010…makes those days when families would sit down and talk over a meal seem rather quaint, doesn’t it?

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