HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 3: Extender & Conclusion

Given the high price of the MediaSmart Connect I’m assuming that most reading this review will want to see some improvements in the Media Center Extender function—and I think HP delivered pretty well on that. While the Extender UI is a bit slow still, we have already covered that it is based on the same Sigma 8622 chip that the Linksys and D-Link are.  However, HP adds a few commonly requested features that the previous entries in the market lack.  First, the HP MediaSmart Connect supports the 4th Zoom mode (non linear stretch) in Media Center.  However, one random issue … Continue reading HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 3: Extender & Conclusion

HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 2: MediaSmart UI

MediaSmart Connect UI/Dashboard On the first boot-up of the Connect you get basic setup options including language, resolution (720p or 1080i only), and more.  After this simple process you are greeted with the MediaSmart UI/Dashboard which includes options for the local video, music, photo, online service functionality as well as a link to the Media Center Extender function.  The whole process works very much like the Xbox 360 Dashboard. The Connect is based on the same Sigma Designs 8622 processor that the Linksys DMA2100/2200 and D-Link DSM-750, so unfortunately this means the processor is just a bit slow for a … Continue reading HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 2: MediaSmart UI

HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 1: Overview

The HP MediaSmart Connect x280n (formerly MediaSmart Receiver) is HPs latest entry into the Media Center Extender/Adaptor market.  Building on the success of their MediaSmart HDTV lineup, the MediaSmart Connect brings the same experience you get on the MediaSmart HDTV to any display via an elegant set-top box. Last week I got a review model to put through some rigorous testing to see how it stacks up against Linksys, D-Link, and the Xbox 360 Extender. The first thing you will notice about the MediaSmart Connect is the focus of the device is not necessarily the Media Center Extender functions.  Much … Continue reading HP MediaSmart Connect Review Part 1: Overview

Any HP MediaSmart Connect Questions?

Yesterday I received my HP MediaSmart Connect x280n review unit and will be taking a look at it this weekend.  I will likely mirror my review of the Linksys DMA series Extender minus all of the general Media Center setup content. If anyone has questions about the unit please let me know so I can either cover them in the review or reply directly in this post.

Microsoft Updates Extenders, Set-top Box Support in Media Center

Microsoft has just released two updates for Vista Media Center, fixing up STBs and Extenders.  KB950124 adds and fixes support for newer STBs connected to Media Center, and KB950125 which adds a few Extender issues including 50Hz output fixes for those of you outside the US (no additional codec support).  Grab the updates on Windows Update or download the standalone packages below. Description of an update that provides broader support in Media Center Extenders for Windows Vista for newer TV set-top boxes (KB950124) This update provides broader Media Center support for newer TV set-top boxes. Download: Windows Update | 32-bit … Continue reading Microsoft Updates Extenders, Set-top Box Support in Media Center

Short Bits: Extenders, Dream Home

The Windows Experience Blog took a look at the HP MediaSmart Connect.  At some point I’ll also have a review of the unit and compare it directly to the Linksys Extenders (and D-Link which is pretty much the same). Speaking of Extenders, Ben at Engadget HD did a great shootout of the Linksys, D-Link, and Xbox 360 Extenders head-to-head. eHomeUpgrade has had several posts about the Disney Innovations Dream Home.  Alexander took a look at Life|ware, Surface, HP’s TouchSmart PC, and much more.

HP MediaSmart Connect Makes It Easy to Enjoy Digital Media from Any HDTV‏

PALO ALTO, Calif., June 17, 2008 – HP today announced that HP MediaSmart Connect, a sleek digital media receiver that brings digital media from around the home or Internet to any HDTV, is now available for pre-order. First announced as part of the HP product launch at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show, HP MediaSmart Connect features a sleek design with a piano-black finish as well as HP’s exclusive “Zen” Imprint pattern and ambient blue lighting, making it a stylish addition to any room in the home. Play your music, photos, and video from any Windows-based PC in your house on … Continue reading HP MediaSmart Connect Makes It Easy to Enjoy Digital Media from Any HDTV‏

Short Bits: HP, TouchSmart, Webinar, Live for TV

Ian Dixon had a ton of good stuff this past week at HP’s Connecting your World event in Germany.  Among the top announcements was HPs new TouchSmart PC which features a 22-inch display.  Best of all, this thing is cheap!  It starts at only $1,300, nearly half of their pervious TouchSmart PCs (and much more attractive).  Ian also did a special edition of The Media Center Show for the event. Saying with HP for a minute, they will be holding a series of webinar’s from June 24-July 10.  Guests include Ian Dixon, Patrick Norton, Mike Garcen, and Ed Bott.  Be … Continue reading Short Bits: HP, TouchSmart, Webinar, Live for TV

Linksys Releases DMA2100/2200 Extender Firmware Update

Of course after I finally post my latest issues with my Linksys DMA2100/2200 Extenders, they have finally released a firmware update (1.1.6) for the DMA2100 and DMA2200 Media Center Extenders. Issues fixed are below, and it seems to include a few of the showstoppers like VC-1 playback and HDMI issues. I’m hoping will cover my personal HDMI auto-sensing issue, and word the firmware also speeds up the UI even more. The download should be up via the update function of the Linksys Extender (close the Media Center interface then go into Settings), and it is also up on Linksys’ website … Continue reading Linksys Releases DMA2100/2200 Extender Firmware Update

Quick Linksys Extender Follow-up

A few months ago I reviewed the Linksys DMA2200 Extender and have since found a couple of issues, mainly based around HDMI that deserve a follow-up.  I’d be interested to know if others have seen these issues. 1080p Support In the previous review I said that 1080i was the maximum output resolution despite the fact that box states 1080p.  I have found that 1080p is a supported output resolution using Component and I assume HDMI.  The DMA2100 and DMA2200 have auto-sensing HDMI that sets the resolution itself.  During this process it disabled the option for user selectable 1080p output.  Switching … Continue reading Quick Linksys Extender Follow-up