HP's new MediaSmart Server likes Macs

Hewlett-Packard's ready to release its latest MediaSmart servers, and, for a change, they don't hate the Mac.

The EX485/EX487 are designed for home or home office use, in large part to enable you -- or your friends and family -- to access any media (music, photos, videos, etc.) via the Internet. You can network all your media files from all the computers in your home and create an online server that you can, in turn, make available to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, best friends from high school, you know, anyone. It also enables an automatic backup of all these digital memories.

It is based on Microsoft’s Windows Home Server operating system, but
according to a pdf on HP's website, "There are several important features of the HP MediaSmart Server that can be accessed from either a Windows-based system or a Mac (running Mac OS X)." (NOTE: HP hasn't updated its white papers on the MediaSmart site, so the afore-linked-to pdf says the server isn't compatible with Time Machine, though the new versions coming out in February will be.)

In fact, the file sharing is the feature that is most easily available on Macs. HP does say, however, that the server would fit best with Macs in a mixed Windows-Mac environment: "there must be at least one Windows-based system on the network for administrative tasks. In some cases (e.g. loading photos onto Photo Webshare), activities are easier from a Windows-based system."


Mac users can take advantage of the data protection features of the HP MediaSmart Server, fully utilize its shared folder capabilities, and access server files remotely. The Mac iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie) can fully access the media files on the server, and Mac users can remotely access files from anywhere on the Internet.

Anyone who has only Macs isn't likely to find this too useful. But anyone who has both in the house just might find this will come in handy.

Features include:
· HP Media Collector: conveniently schedules the MediaSmart Server to copy and centralize digital files and libraries from networked PCs
· Media Streaming: remotely streams photos and music to any Internet-connected PC or Mac
· Server for iTunes: centralizes iTunes music libraries on the server for playback to any networked Mac or PC running iTunes
· HP Photo Publisher: easily upload photos to Facebook®, PicasaTM Web Albums and Snapfish(3)
· HP Photo Viewer: allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family
· PC Hard Drive Backup: backs up networked PCs via the Windows Home Server backup feature
· Mac Hard Drive Backup: backs up Macs running Leopard using Apple Time Machine software
· Server Backup: duplicates designated shared folders to a separate hard disk drive
· Online Backup: duplicates designated folders to Amazon’s S3 online backup service for an additional layer of protection
· Smart Power Management: can schedule times for server to go to ”sleep” and ”wake up,” saving on energy costs
· Processor: Intel Celeron, 2.0 GHz 64-bit. Two gigabytes (GB) of 800-MHz DDR2 DRAM now standard on MediaSmart Server
· Expandability: additional drives can be added for up to 9 terabytes (TB)

Pricing and availability

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the HP MediaSmart Server ex485 with 750 GB of hard disk storage is $599 while the HP MediaSmart Server ex487 with 1.5 TB is $749.
The HP MediaSmart Server can be pre-ordered beginning on Jan. 5, 2009, from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Buy.com, Frys.com and NewEgg.com; it is expected to ship in February.