MacMost Now 186: HP MediaSmart Server

HP updated their home media server with Mac support including Time Machine backup over the network and iTunes features

Video Transcript
Gary Rosenzweig: Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's MacMost special, let's take a look at the HP MediaSmart Server.
So you may find it strange that the largest producer of PCs, HP, had a very large booth at MacWorld. That's because they have a lot of products that work with Macs like printers, or for instance the HP MediaSmart Server. Now this server is basically a box that can hold up to four drives and can be used as storage for your Macs. And basically it can sit there on your network and you can transfer files to it. But you can also put media on it and media can not only be viewed on different machines, cross-platform, across your network but even on devices like an Xbox for instance. It even has some Mac-specific functionality, like the ability to use it, set up a partition to use specifically with Time Machine. So I caught up with Glenn from HP at MacWorld Expo.
So I'm here with Glenn from HP and they just introduced last week the HP MediaSmart Server.
Glenn: Hi Gary. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to tell you about our second generation server. The first generation we introduced about 15 months ago and it did really well. 91% of our customers said that they would recommend it to friends. But we also talked with a lot of our customers and they said, you know, we're the type of customer that doesn't just have PCs in the home, we have Macs as well. And that's why we've introduced this here at MacWorld this year and the big feature that we've added, well, first of all we've added a lot of features that work well with the Mac. But we've especially added a feature that allows Time Machine to back up to the MediaSmart Server over the network. So that's a big feature that we're excited about.
Gary: So it creates a separate Time Machine partition in addition to having the MediaSmart partition?
Glenn: Exactly. So basically it creates a share on the server that Time Machine knows to back up to and we think it's one of the first that allows backing up over the network.
Gary: Great. So like what sort of media would people store on these and how would they access it throughout their home?
Glenn: Yeah, well, maybe I'll tell you how it works in the home and basically what it is, it's a network storage device that's running Windows Home Server and you basically would plug it into your network at home and turn it on and then you would install it on a PC. We've developed this for a home that has Macs and PCs in it. After you install it in there, then the customer can immediately start using it. Back-ups begin running on the PCs and a customer, in terms of types of content: photos, music, video of course. All those enthusiasts would be able to put their content on here as well as documents, etc.
From a Mac standpoint, you use the same disc, you install it on the Mac in a couple quick steps. It takes two steps to set your Time Machine backup and then it's up and running as well.
Gary: And you can even serve the media from things like Xbox 360.
Glenn: Absolutely. So, we have a very robust media streamer on here.
Gary: So this has multiple drives in it, four different drives, what's the maximum capacity?
Glenn: Maximum capacity is really the size of hard drive. So for example, today, internally if you use 1 Terabyte drives, you could have 4 Terabytes inside but we also have a USB on the front 3 USB and an E-side on the back so theoretically 9 Terabyte if you're using 1 Terabyte drives.
Gary: Excellent.
Glenn: One other thing I was going to mention about the streaming; we also have an iTunes server on here so that allows you to have iTunes as a shared device. So essentially a customer can have all their content on here, it will show up when the customer opens their iTunes as one of their shared devices and you can play it on any of the PCs or Macs in your home.
Gary: Excellent. So is there any special Mac software for accessing it?
Glenn: No special software. Basically as I said, it's a quick set-up but then what we do have is all of our applications that we use work on the Mac, almost every one of them. And so, a few examples that we have: we have a remote media-streaming application that basically, if you're on the road and you as a customer needs to access your content, you can do that, you could go in and pull your photo, music or videos and put them, and get them remotely here at the show. Or you could listen to your music or view your photos remotely through a really nice streamer.
We also have a lot of sharing applications so we, on our first generation product and this one, we have the ability to create albums and share out to your family and friends. When you buy this server you get a URL assigned to it. So in my case it's Robert's family at dot, dot, dot. And so the customer has a way to get in and so do their friends and family. And with that sharing we also now heard a lot of customers say, 'You know, I don't want to share from the server. I'd rather take my content and load it up to Facebook or load it up to PicasaWeb'. So we built a real simple application for them to upload that as well.
Gary: Excellent. So how much does the server run?
Glenn: Well, we have two configurations. We have one that is a 750Gb and it's for $599 and we have a 1.5Tb and that's selling for $749.
Gary: And then could you add your own hard drives to it later on if you want to expand?
Glenn: Absolutely. It's a very simple process, the Windows, some servers, really an easy way to say: OK, I've got drives here, I want to add one, I put in any standard drive, it doesn't have to be HP, you can put that in and say add and it will add it and move your content around for you.
Gary: Excellent. Well, thank you very much.
Glenn: Thank you.
Gary: Now to find out more, you can go to the HP website and the best way to do that is simply search for HP MediaSmart Server and it'll take you right to the webpage with all the details and pricing and options and things like that. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.