HP MediaSmart Server LX195 Review

HP MediaSmart Server LX195 Review

Windows Home Server is quite possibly one of Microsoft's most unheralded operating systems. Many speak longingly of Windows XP, jokingly of Windows ME, disappointedly of Windows Vista, and hopefully of Windows 7. But seldom discussed is the little-known and little-used operating system designed to be installed on a home server and act as a central depository for serving media and other files, as well as a place to backup your home systems' files. For those who have used it, many praise Windows Home Server's functionality and performance--especially since Microsoft has made some significant updates to the OS recently. (Windows Home Server is actually based on Microsoft's Windows Server 2003.)

It is possible to purchase the Windows Home Server OS and install it yourself on your own rig: you can download or order a free 120-day trial of the OS from Microsoft here. Many users, however, choose to buy home servers with the Windows Home Server OS already installed. Hewlett-Packard (HP) was the first such vendor to provide a system with Windows Home Server pre-installed, with its MediaSmart Server series. HP was soon joined by a short list of other system vendors, including Niveus and Velocity Micro. A number of the existing Windows Home Server offerings are moderately priced, with several selling for well below $1,000. But until HP's just-launched, $399.99 (MSRP) HP MediaSmart Server LX195, none of them made it down into the true budget level.

HP MediaSmart Server LX195 Review

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I have one question, and it would be really awesome if you guys could answer this for me. I so want to buy this but if it doesnt support "any" codec then its a lost cause. I see that it has the twonky server installed, which is great, but my problem with the twonky server is that you can't add codec support to it. The hope i see is in the Windows Server which I assume to be a kin to Windows Media Player which should allow transencoding of video that I can process with pretty much any installed codec -- being that this is windows. So my question is, have you guys tested this ability out if it exists? Without this it's just easier and more practical for one to just build a dedicated windows xp streaming box. Thanks for any replies.

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The LX195 does not currently support video streaming through any of its interfaces. You can, however, stream video from it as a file server--which means that the appropriate codecs will need to be installed on the client. There will be an update to the software this fall that will add integrated video streaming.

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Yeah, what he said! :) Seriously, nice work on this one, Dan. I'm sort of jonesing for one but will wait for the update to be pushed out.

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As to not to beat a dead horse, just for clarification -- the type of streaming your talking about here as far the update is concerned is trans-encode streaming?

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