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HP Officially Announces 40g MP3 Stereo Component 294

jspectre writes "HP announced their new de100c "digital entertainment center." Containing a 40g drive and a built in CDRW drive it will store "up to 750 CDs of music" or 9000 tracks. You can make your own playlists and burn them out to CDR/CDRW's. All of this for $999.99. No mention of any digital management controls on the device." I totally need a review model! I saw this thing at the last LinuxWorld and it looked good, but only really playing with it for a few weeks will let me know if it's better then the audiotron that I've been using in my home system.
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HP Officially Announces 40g MP3 Stereo Component

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  • by wessto ( 469499 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:15PM (#2507213) Homepage
    If I want it for my home, why would I buy this? can't I get an actual CD Jukebox that stores around 100 CD's for about $300? Yeah Yeah, it's cool and everything, but I won't be rushing out to get one. Mp3's seem cost effective in their portability. At home though, $1000 seems a bit much.
    • It's new. Wait. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mblase ( 200735 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:44PM (#2507439)
      Everyone knows that the first CD players and DVD players cost nearly $1000 or more when they first came out. They come down when they become more popular, the manufacturing process becomes more standardized, and the demand is high enough to justify it.

      As for your $300 CD jukebox, check out the specs on this toy -- internet connectivity, TV display, HomePNA broadcasting, and of course, a larger hard drive. Feature-wise, there's no comparison.
    • Ah, but you are a slashdot reader - the idea of this is surely as a consumer hifi device that "12 o'clock flashers" * can use to get into MP3 fun.

      * i.e. people whose VCR's are flashing at 12:00 ;-)
  • No mention of any digital management controls on the device

    Digital management controls on the device would be nice, actually. Digital rights management controls, on the other hand...

  • why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:17PM (#2507224) Journal
    How is this significantly different from getting a kick-ass sound card (for around $200) and a 40g hard drive (for around $150) in my computer (which I already own) and hooking it up to my stereo? I can't think of a good reason to spend $999 for dedicated hardware.
    • Re:why? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sledd_1 ( 464094 )
      Because it has factory audio components that fit seamlessly into your existing home entertainment center?
      Because it (guessing) makes less noise than a PC?
      Because it doesn't look like your science project gone bad?
      • Re:why? (Score:4, Informative)

        by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:32PM (#2507347) Homepage
        True, but you can also put together something that looks nice (in a small form factor case: BookPC for example) that also has quality stereo/video/tv output for a lot less money.

        The only kicker would be the user interface. I've seen a couple of things on Freshmeat that put a nice front end (that's TV resolution friendly) for a "media" computer. I guess it comes down to a) how much you're willing to spend and b) how much sweat you want to invest.

        At close to a grand its for me its worth building my own. Once it comes down to within $50 or so of building something comparable I'd be willing to plunk my money down.
        • Re:why? (Score:5, Funny)

          by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @02:16PM (#2507992) Homepage
          Oddly enough, this is not being marketed at people who can build a superior solution, in the same way that the Ford Festiva was not marketed at automotive engineers who owned a machine shop that they used to design and build their own engines...
          • Re:why? (Score:2, Funny)

            by JWhitlock ( 201845 )
            Oddly enough, this is not being marketed at people who can build a superior solution, in the same way that the Ford Festiva was not marketed at automotive engineers who owned a machine shop that they used to design and build their own engines...

            Sorry, my subtlety detector is in the shop... Are you ragging on the Ford Festiva? I'm a proud owner of one, that my family gave me back in college (for free!). Amoung the many features:

            Great gas mileage (30+ some weeks)

            Self-changing oil (Self-draining, just add a quart or two a month!)

            Simple radio system (No CD or tape player)

            User-provided cronometer (the backlighting for the stereo's LCD display is out)

            Ample trunk space (For my laptop and the 12-pack of oil)

            Simplified air conditioning (no cooling, only heating)

            Multi-terrain capability (roads and sidewalks!)

            Daily excercise (no power steering, so your arms get a workout.)

            Seats 5 uncomfortably (I'm the only one that rides in it these days...)

            I'm sure there are other benefits. It has a few annoyances, but still runs. I can afford a better car, but I can't bring myself to change until this one dies. The thing simply lasts forever without needing maintainace work, so I'll probably have it for another 5-10 years.

          • Your analogy fails because the Ford Festiva is not obviously overpriced, where the de100c obviously is. Next time try "Ferrari Testarossa." Besides, to build something like the de100c you (and for that matter HP as well) do not have to design your own microprocessor or memory chips or hard drive. So instead of "Ferrari Testarossa" think "AC Cobra" or some other expensive collection of off-the-shelf parts.

      • Re:why? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by schmaltz ( 70977 )
        Because it (guessing) makes less noise than a PC?
        You'll find that's not the case. The specs quote THD and dynamic range values (-86dB and 87dB respectively) that are on par with cheap PC soundcards, significantly worse than decent home and prosumer audio gear.

        Combine that with artifacts introduced and frequences subtraced by lossy MP3 compression, you've a recipe for poor quality sound (caveat: I've not listened to one yet.)

        For a kilobuck, you can have a nice quality CD juke that'll give you much better sound quality.

        And, it is a PC. Read the specs [ratedpc.com]. I'd pry one open before buying to see if the audio output section/soundcard is built into the system board. In PCs where that's the case, I've found there to be *loads* of mobo-generated noise.
    • Re:why? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:38PM (#2507385) Homepage Journal

      <GeekBashingJoke>Because some of us live in homes with TWO rooms, where we want to use our computer in our office AND let someone else (like this thing known as a "wife") listen to music. Not everyone lives with our mom and just has to worry about his own room.</GeekBashingJoke>

      In any case, you would want it for the same reason you might have a "dedicated" CD player on your stereo stack. Sometimes you want your computer to be your computer, and stereo equipment to be stereo equipment on the rack.

      • I live in a home with (let me count) eight rooms, not counting bathrooms or the basement. My wife, son, and I own (let me count) five computers, not counting the firewall or my son's old P75 mouldering in the basement (or the Sinclair ZX80, now that I think about it :-) Not everyone is limited to one PC per person.

        One of those computers would do very nicely as a dedicated A/V unit, which I would prefer over having one of these de100c's and a TiVo and a DVD player. Why do TiVo and HP each put 80% of what I want in one box and make me buy another box that also has 80% of what I want, and having paid for 160% of what I want I'm still left 10% (DVD) short? Forget it, HP and TiVo: I want it all or you're just wasting my time, money, and shelf space.

        I'll even subscribe to their monthly service, if it offers enough convenience at a reasonable price; otherwise, I can enter date, time, and channel to record into my dedicated, home-brew A/V computer just as easily as I now enter the same information into my VCR. Hint on the convenience/price ratio: VCR+ is not worth it to me (my Father-in-law has it, and it sucks).

        • Is that what you really want -- an integrated all-in-one unit? On the surface, it sounds like a good thing: put everything in one box, and be done with it. But totally integrated stereo systems have not been as successful as component systems for the basic reason that people generally like to be able to upgrade a particular component without throwing everything away.

          What happens when 2 layer DVD comes out and you want to upgrade your DVD player for $200? Do you really want to have to buy another $1500 unit that includes a whole new integrated MP3 jukebox, TiVo, tuner, amplifier, tape deck and X-Box video game? I exaggerate, but you can see the advantages to having each box do something well (kind of like the Unix philosophy :) ).

          • What happens when 2 layer DVD comes out and you want to upgrade your DVD player for $200? Do you really want to have to buy another $1500 unit that includes a whole new integrated MP3 jukebox, TiVo, tuner, amplifier, tape deck and X-Box video game? I exaggerate, but you can see the advantages to having each box do something well (kind of like the Unix philosophy :) ).

            Yes, I want the Unix approach, as in one server running Samba and Apache and Sendmail. What you propose is three servers, one for Samba, one for Apache, and one for Sendmail. No, thanks. There is no need to replace the entire box to upgrade to 2 layer DVD; just replace the DVD drive. Of course, the likes of HP wouldn't consider that a feature, they'd consider it a liability hurting future sales. They forget that their current limited offerings hurt current sales. Why should I buy this $1000 HP box when for the same money I can make a modular, upgradeable box that does more?

            • I kind of vaguely remember some modular stereo systems a long time ago that were slot-based, trying to do something like that. IIRC, the problem was that the added complexity increased cost and the box size (need to leave room for slots) didn't give enough advantages over just making separate components in a stack. After all, what are you paying extra for? A power supply and a case? I somehow doubt a fully modular system would be that much more expensive than some frankenstein modular system, not to mention that you would probably only be able to get modules from that manufacturer.

              On the plus side, you would probably get some added integration by allowing one processor to control multiple components, but I'm not sure that would worth the extra hassle.

              Given the lock-in capability and the desire to sell you more modules, I wouldn't be surprised if some companies have experimented with systems like that, but it probably proved impractical.

              To be honest, I think your "single server" approach is more like the Microsoft approach. One monolithic system with lots of objects tightly integrated. The object/integrated nature gives a lot of benefits (object embedding, for example), but you tend to lose a lot of flexibility. I think a modular system like you describe would suffer a lot of the same problems.

    • Re:why? (Score:3, Funny)

      by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 )
      This is a consumer-entertainment device aimed at a market that's not as adept with computers as the usual /. crowd. It's intended for someone who needs Steve the Dell Computer Kid to tell him what to look for in a PC.
  • it's odd that HP would release a product like this, when its newly-assimilated partner Compaq just released an eerily similar product [compaq.com] at the exact same price point. And from what i can tell, the Compaq product is less attractive, as it lacks the CD-burner feature. Spooky.
    • by Distan ( 122159 )
      Not strange at all. The merger has barely been announced, while these products must have been in the pipeline for awhile.

      Furthermore, even if the companies wanted to not step on each other's toes, the law requires that they continue to behave as competitors until the final merger goes through.
      • right, and as such, it would seem appropriate for HP to release a slightly more competetive product than Compaq did...for instance, if they would have simply upped the hard drive space by 5 gigs or maybe sold an equivalent model for 50 bucks less. But all in all, this product absolutely kicks the Compaq Music Center's ass.

        I see what you're saying and everything, and i totally agree with you, but it still seems odd to me that HP would want to upstage Compaq in such a huge way.
  • Would it really be that hard to build one of those for far less than HP is charging, say with an LCD display and remote on the front of a filthy-cheap tower box? (Not to mention a video card with an S-video jack so you can do your selecting through the TV...)

  • by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <slashthree@@@davidglover...org> on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:19PM (#2507245) Homepage
    Since this thing is supposed to sit in your hi-fi stack, it's not supposed to be portable, yes? And since it plays MP3s, it's assumed that you own a PC, yes?

    So why put any storage in it at all? Why not just shove a network socket on the back, or make it 802.11x aware, and play MP3s off a server on your network?

    That would be sweet.

    • And since it plays MP3s, it's assumed that you own a PC, yes?

      No. You'll note that it doesn't specifically mention PCs, and it includes a CD-RW drive. It looks like it can rip and burn CDs by itself.

    • It does have an ethernet jack on the back. But it doesn't say what it is for (specifically, it mentions that the modem is for internet connectivity. Or rather, that internet connectivity is via the modem.)

    • They have this. It's called the Audiotron [audiotron.net]
      I have one at home, and it rocks. Stick your files on a SMB share and Audiotron finds them and plays them.
      And for less than a third of the price of this thing.
    • Since this thing is supposed to sit in your hi-fi stack, it's not supposed to be portable, yes? And since it plays MP3s, it's assumed that you own a PC, yes?

      Well if it's half as cool as the system that Be, Inc. was working on, you will pop in a new CD, and it will pull all the tracks off and start playing the CD. Then it encodes them into MP3's in the background.

      I'm sure another use for this thing will be downloading/streaming music from the internet.

      So no, you don't necessarily need a computer.

      But I definitely won't buy one until they get 802.11b inside.
      • Right now, my DSL "modem" and Firewall/WAP sit in my study with one of the computer, and we use the wireless for the laptops. (I live in an 700 sq. ft. apartment, so for a home, YMMV) The plan is to move the DSL/Firewall into the entertainment center, which happens to be in the middle of the apartment because of the layout.

        Originally, I was going to use 802.11b to get connectivity to the HTPC, etc., but with the growing availability of ethernet support in devices, I concluded that I should have a non 802.11b connection in the entertainment center. Their already is a phone line run back there to support the Replay, so splitting it and running the DSL there is trivial, and I will eventually have 3 devices in the system that need connectivity.

        The Gamecube is going to support an ethernet addon, some sort of MP3 player may make it into my system (sure the HTPC - home theater pc - could do it, but it creates a UI nightmare... although having a Pronto makes life easier), and the HTPC obviously needs connectivity. I concluded that the USB-802.11b connection will be adequate for the docking station that's for the study, as well as the second computer.

        Yeah, my freaky apartment has a docking station for my work computer, my fiancee's old PC that she uses for her Windows apps, my HTPC for computer gaming on the television, my laptop out of the docking station, and the fiancee's iBook. I guess it is a problem that I love technology for technology's sake, oh well.

        The problem with 802.11b is that unless you have an intelligence antennae system, reception blows. My laptop whines at places that the iBook is fine at. Apple's engineering is impressive.

        802.11b is amazing though, and more stuff should support it. I would love to get some of the LCD-based computers if I could get a good 802.11b setup, so I could display rotating digital photographs throughout the apartment. Oh well, one day.

  • duplicate post ? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by shivan ( 12148 )
    isn't this [slashdot.org] [/.] the same article ??
  • Hrm.. I'm trying to figure something out here. Obviously the DMCA peoples and RIAA will be all over this one eventually. The question of the day for me is, how would you build in an effective digital rights management system without causing alot of problems?

    I certainly have no idea how to look at 2 mp3s, and say, 'Uh, this person owns this cd', or 'Uh, it was downloaded from napster! Evil copyright infringment person!!!!"

    I'm wondering if it is set up to only store mp3's that are ripped IN that unit, with no other method of transport. But that doesn't stop someone from copying someone elses CD, then ripping it. Or borrowing the CD for a day, and ripping it that way. I hate to rant on and on about the DMCA, but even though they won congress over, they are still fighting an uphill battle.

  • $999? Doesn't this seem a bit steep? That hard drive can't be worth much more than $100 at bulk pricing and the CDRW is probably worth about the same, if that.

    I'd just recommend to anyone thinking of buying this thing to get a low powered home computer, and an external DA [thinkgeek.com].

    But then again, I'm a nerd.
  • $999?!?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iceT ( 68610 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:23PM (#2507272)
    It's that a little high on the price? A Rio Reciever is only $150, and the audiotron is only $300... Hell, a TiVO with a 60GB hard drive is only $400 (list)...

    How do they justify a grand?
    • Speaking of TiVo, when is somebody going to make a convergence device that does TiVo-like stuff and MP3-like stuff. Once you've got all of the connectors and the hard drive it is really just a question of software.
  • Consider what this is - an outdated PC repackaged as a "device". Whats inside? A Pentium and maybe 64 MB of RAM? Add on the 40GB hard rive and you are looking at $350 tops for the parts.

    As for having "all of my music in one box" - sure, if its portable. Why would I transfer all of the CDs in my jukebox over to another box, at lower fidelity? By virtue of having all of my CDs in my jukebox, all of my music is already in one box. The fact that the unit accesses the data on CDs instead of off of a hard drive is inconsequential.

    The only value add I can see is tha TV interface. Not worth a grand.

    This is as pathetic as the Audrey rollout by 3Com months ago. I makes me wince to watch the once venerable tech giants roll out ridiculous toys to the collective shrug of the consumer public.

    HP in particular is just becoming sad. They've devolved from a tech powerhouse to a manufacturing dinosaur trying to compete with $39 inkjet printers I can buy at the grocery store (who cares if they are junk??), Dell in the PC world, and IBM in enterprise computing. Maybe its good that both founders are gone now, so they don't have to see their once-great creation mate with Compaq.

  • by Ecyrd ( 51952 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:24PM (#2507278)
    For a moment I thought this was interesting: A 40 gram MP3 player. But then I realized someone had gotten their units mixed up again.

    Seems to happen a lot in the US. [cnn.com] *evil grin*

    (G = Giga = 10^12, g = gram = 1/1000 of kilogram.)
  • I think I'd be more likely to buy an Entre' Hub from Kenwood. It's only got a 20GB drive (you just gotta bea able to hack those things!), but it'll link up to their 400+3 CD/DVD changers and will catalog and provide an interface for your real disks as well as the cool MP3 functions. List on the Entre' is $1800 or so, but street should be about $1000.

    Combine it with the Kenwood Sovereign amplifier (a bit pricey at $3k list, $2k street) and you can distribute audio via telephone jacks throughout your home and play multiple MP3s simultaneously in different locations.

    Me, I'm just drooling over the 400+3 disk progessive player...
  • by Acrucis ( 132401 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:25PM (#2507288)
    I saw this thing at LWCE too, and it looks like it will kick ass. However, talking with the guy I asked if it was a standard IDE HDD that could be upgraded. He said that to keep the RIAA sorts happy all the mp3s were stored encrypted and that it was some sort of proprietary interface to keep people from swapping out HDDs. He said that you could pay for them to put in a bigger HDD, but that they had to have something to keep the lawsuits away, and that they were pleased that this was all it took to get approval from the music industry.
    • Hmmm, In that case, I'll hold out for one with an ethernet port instead of a modem. I want the ability to upload/download with my high speed connection and FTP to this device. That way I can also burn the MP3's into a CDR. The website says you can burn your favorite music to CD's. Reading between the lines means a music CD, NOT A MP3 CD!. You won't be getting MP3's off this to share with friends.
      • It does come with a 10/100 ethernet port. But it looks like it is only used with it's web browser for broadband access thru your supplied router. They are tight lipped about what format you can post your music online. We need a good review of this in action on getting and putting MP3's to and from this device. We also need a positive answer. Will it burn MP3's on a CDR as MP3's and not a music CD? In other words.. Can it export the MP3's?
      • According to the product page this unit DOES come with a 10/100 baseT card.
      • I stand corrected again.. It says in the fine print on the second page (PDF won't allow cut and paste.. Darn..) Burn custom music and MP3 CD's.. I guess you can get MP3's out of the box. Now it is starting to look interesting.. ;-)
    • Either you were lied to, or the specs have changed. This [speedera.net] says that it's a "40 GB IDE Ultra DMA drive", and that you can "Burn custom CDs (CDDA and MP3)with the built-in CD-writer". (On the second page. Under "Internal Storage Drive" and "Music Library" respectively.) The internal HD is standard, and you can export tracks to a CD as either MP3s or in the Redbook standard.
  • by Refrag ( 145266 )
    That is a monstrosity, there is no one anything that ugly will ever have a place in my living room.

    Aesthetics do matter!
  • Tech Specs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anomymous Coward ( 303315 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @12:26PM (#2507300) Homepage Journal
    The tech specs are here (pdf) [speedera.net]

    in case anyone's curious .....

  • They arent trying to sell this system to the average /.er. They are trying to sell this to the millionaire house wife that is tired of sorting through her 250 different Yanni CDs who doesnt know the difference between a sound card and a credit card.

    They started the price extremely high for a purpose, the price will come down, but not before a bunch of the technology deficient purchase them.
    • Actually, I believe that they are trying to sell that Audiotron thing to the average slashdotter. Note the thinkgeek link in the story. This seems to be happening more and more lately. There are a lot less links to the actual manufacturer of the product and more links to places that sell it (ie Thinkgeek). This site used to be about information; now it seems to mostly exist to sell products to us.
  • cmon, losers, the rest of the world cant build a box for cheaper that does more ... only us techies can do that. :)

    Anyhow, release prices rarely stay at that .. I imagine the price will drop.

    This still doesn't address the fact that while we're willing to sacrifice sound quality on the road (ie, MP3s), but I don't see any reason to lossy-compress my 200 CDs into an inferior sounding library of music. :)
  • This is from the pdf :
    Write Speed Rips up to 4x (encoding MP3 compressed audio) CD-R media: up to 8x CD-RW media: up to 4x Disc finalization time: 2 minutes typical at 2X Audio Performance Encoding rate: 96 Kb/sec, 128 Kb/sec, 160 Kb/sec, 256 KB/sec Default encoding rate: 128 Kb/sec ***************** Operating temperature: 5 to 35 C (41 to 95 F) Operating humidity: 20% to 80% RH non-condensing

    - First of all, the website advertises "CDRW write speed up to 8X " although the pdf clearly specifies 4x.
    -The encoding rate is quite low... why didn't they include 320Kb? its a 40 gig hard drive!
    -35 celsius maximum operating temperature??? ever heard of summer? It often goes over 35 where I live.
    -And finally the price. Look at the components, lets give 50$ for the box and power supply, 100$ for the motherboard, 40 for the cpu, 100 for the HD, maybe 30$ for some kind of ram, 15 for some wires and 80 for the burner (8x4x32 probably, am I forgetting something? The total of that is 415... 999 anybody?

    But the concept is good, just needs a little tweaking maybe.
  • If I can install my own 80G drive, I can put all my CDs into it. That would rock.
  • Microsoft is on top of the game. They'll have an Xbox variant soon that will do all this and then some for lots less. Why does everyone ignore the potential of this market? I'd *love* to have a single box that I could plug the phone, satellite (from any provider, or cable if I prefer), run MP3s, play games, surf the web, and time shift TV content. I'm sure that there is more that I am forgetting, but processing is cheap.

    Sure, there are small projects to bring Linux into this arena but MS is close to making them all dead in the water. Just like IE, I'll be quick to support it since there are no other solutions.

    If only someone in the industry would pull their head out of their ass. Maybe when all the million distros die off... There's just too much duplication of work right now and not enough in the way of making actual inroads.

  • I can throw together a PC that will do all that and more for half the price.

    Or I could buy a 200 CD jukebox for even less

    So, why is this cool?

  • specs (Score:2, Informative)

    by uslinux.net ( 152591 )

    internal storage
    [definition] 40 GB IDE Ultra DMA drive

    CDRW write speed
    up to 8X

    minimum system requirements
    connection to stereo system with a receiver/amplifier via standard audio jacks, TV with composite video or S-video input|connection to internet service, router and appropriate cables for broadband connection

    internet connectivity
    dial-up: 56K V.90 modem

    Intel Pentium® II 566MHz Celeron

    music library
    create up to 99 play lists

    internet radio
    listen to worldwide internet radio stations

    music storage
    stores 750 CDs, 9000 tracks, 635 hours of music

    Seems pretty cool, but at almost $1k, that seems pretty pricey for consumer electronics. And, I don't quite like how it's limited to 99 playlists. Also, a basic network interface which would grab a DHCP address (or automatically use something like seems like it would be MUCH more useful than a modem.

    Hacking time, anyone? :-)

  • 40G is not enough. something with at least 100 or 200 GB is more appropriate... maybe mirrored as well to ensure data safety. I'd hate to lose my 90GB of music due to a cheap ass IDE drive failing on me.

    I know that sounds a bit silly but for $999 bucks I expect more from them :)
  • Kenwood [kenwood.com] released a similar device not too long ago: the Entre entertainment hub [kenwoodusa.com]. Yeah, it's about twice as expensive, but it's targetted at audiophiles and offers additional features to boot: a graphical user interface that displays on your television, indexing and control of Kenwood's 400-disc DVD/CD player, Internet radio, and homePNA support so you can send audio anywhere else in your house.
  • Ooooooh, it's got a shiny 56k modem in it! Fsck me harder. No Ethernet, no chance. I'm tired of all these consumer electronics devices without even a simple cheap-ass 10 mbit Ethernet port. Maybe they don't want to deal with user interface issues of configuring it, but DHCP isn't exactly rocket science, and they could simply require DHCP. I don't need yet another damn modem to fight over my analog lines when I and many others have a perfectly decent LAN behind a NAT/DHCP box with a live internet connection.

    Besides, running things over Ethernet means I can run protocol analyzers and proxies and such to help hack a device. :-)

    • Uh... (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by uradu ( 10768 )
      The "10/100 baseT card" is mentioned right there under "what's in the box", BEFORE the modem. The solution to your problem is *reading*.
      • Argh. I read as far as "Internet Connectivity: 56K modem". Well, DUHHH, HP, Ethernet is "internet connectivity" too! Damn ad copy writers.
        • > Well, DUHHH, HP, Ethernet is "internet connectivity" too!

          I know what you mean, but strictly speaking it's not. Ethernet is LAN connectivity technology. I would guess very few people are directly connected to the internet via Ethernet. Cable modems, modems, DSL, sure, but those aren't Ethernet.
  • Though the price is steep, this does have a great feature set. Everything I looked for is there:
    • 10/100Base-T conectivity
    • Built-in 56K modem
    • Ability to tune in internet radio (through Kerbango or wherever)
    • Ability to mount device on other computers for easy file transfer
    • Nice on-screen management controls (TiFo-style)
    • CDDB Support
    • Ability to burn Audio CDs and MP3 CDs in CD-R or CD-RW
    • Interfaces with USB-equipped MP3 players directly for filling them with music

    Basically this is the box that you feed your CDs into, and it handles all the rest. Later you can grab stuff off via the net, MP3 CD, USB to your player, or Audio CD, (or just play it) and it's just all there.

    In fact, the only thing that I really wish were there that I didn't see would be the ability to use it as a net-radio broadcaster with a web interface, so you could listen to your home collection from work or anywhere. Of course, mounting the share across the net would do almost the same thing, but only for one user.

    Sure $999 is alot, but it's the first real consumer (read not-geek-targeted) device to tackle all these things. There's probably a market at this price, and once that market's saturated, I'll be there to pick one up for $500.
  • The HP model is nice, but needs some features, such as wireless networking, which means it could ditch the storage and use Samba like the AudioTron does. Check out this device [simpledevices.com] coming out soon that is similar but has a "dockable" remote and wireless networking to your computer which also lets you listen to internet radio such as Live365. Add a CD-RW to the SimpleFi for burning/encoding CDs and you've got my dream device, although visualizations on the TV screen would be nice to have as well.
  • Heavy! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amazing Quantum Man ( 458715 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @01:08PM (#2507555) Homepage
    This must be really heavy equipment if it exerts a force causing a 40g acceleration!

    Ohh... you meant 40GB! That's very different! Never mind.
  • I know I'm fighting the very premise of creating a product line that so many manufacturers follow. Before I go plunk down $1000 on a device like this, I want it to do this first:

    • HD Space (rec/playback) for Music (of varying formats, AIFF, WAV, MP3)
    • HD Space (rec/playback) for Video (Tivo style)
    • DVD/player/burner/CD-RW unit
    • Standard case that fits in with most stereo components in look and feel
    • Quiet Fans
    • Digital I/O (S/PDIF, Optical)
    • NO MORE INTERNET VIA WEBTV OR AOLTV, UltimateTV tries to do this, it's a waste.
    • 802.11 wireless capability so the device will be networked so that I can xfer files to/from my computer directly to video and audio storage, and manage the files on the device.
    • *OPTIONAL* Tivo type service. I don't really need Tivo Guide Service, so I'd like to be able to use my recorder without it.

    Give me a device like that and I'll stop using my computer for the same thing.

  • Why compress at all? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glindsey ( 73730 )
    When it comes to a component that's going to be a part of a high-quality stereo system, why bother with MP3 compression at all? MP3's are great for the typical computer speakers, but get into higher-end sound equipment and you can really notice the compression artifacts. Yes, I realize that you can store considerably more music using MP3 compression, but if you're going to spend $999 on something, why not build a dedicated system with twin 80GB hard drives and store the CD tracks directly? You still have the room to store over 230 CDs worth of audio (and that's assuming each CD was filled to capacity, which often doesn't happen with music CDs), and you don't suffer the quality degradation from compression. Add the option to play files over a network link (either compressed or uncompressed), and THEN you have something worth that grand. IMHO, of course.
    • ...with lossless compression. Something like FLAC or Shorten will permit something in the range of 3x better compression with no loss whatsoever.

      Pity that none of the currently available consumer devices support anything like that (or even Vorbis, which as lossy compression goes is pretty damn sweet).
  • Apple releases a portable and sleek MP3 player for (an admittedly ovepriced) 400 bucks and it is "lame," whist HP releases a shitty computer in a smaller box and Taco is all "I totally need a review model."

    Taco, you are a fuck. You've let your little media conglomerate go to your head. Be a journalist or an evangelist, but don't be both... it doesn't become you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2001 @01:31PM (#2507693)
    Now that this has officially been released, I suppose I am no longer under NDA.

    About 9 months ago I was on a focus group to review these things. It was supposed to be four sessions in four months or something, and then we got the device, but I was "dismissed" after the first session and told not to come back. I think I pissed them off by telling them that if this device wasn't open, it would be hacked.

    They were very interested in how we would respond to advertising that was downloaded to it and played for us based on our music choices. The group said downloading concert info about the bands we liked was fine, most of the people didn't really mind more annoying ads, but I said that if there wasn't a way to opt out of the ads I would firewall its outgoing network connection.

    They asked if it would be ok if the box reported back certain user preferences, and I said that would be fine if they were totally upfront about what information was sent. I told them that lying would just get them in trouble, because we would see every packet this thing sent over the wire, and would raise a stink about any unexplained ones.

    I think the final insult is when they asked the price we would pay. Most of the other people said $1000 or $1200, but I said that I would pay $300, because had built similar devices for $300. That was a bit unfair, because $300 doesn't include the surplus and out of date computer pieces used from work, and their box was certainly nicer than what I had put together. At the time their box had a 20GB drive, and a CD burner, so it would have been more fair of me (on then prices) to have said $450-500.

    The ironic thing is, that I have never needed my own home mp3 box (the ones I built were for friends), but just yesterday I started getting pieces together for one. I think it'll cost me $80-120. Of course I am using a surplus K6-2 (clocked down to 200Mhz, no fan!) scrounged from work. The $80-120 is for a 40-60GB 5400 hard disk. My box won't have CD-RW, modem, HomePNA, etc., but I don't want those things, why should I pay for them?

    I think their main problem was they had tried to pack the room with people who were very into music, yet somewhat tech savy. Unfortunately I am very tech savy, and only somewhat into music, so instead of spending my time dreaming about the virtues of a 20GB CD changer (besides I already had the equivilant in my notebook) I spent my time dreaming about all of the evil things they would be doing with this box.

  • What I really want (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @01:43PM (#2507761) Homepage
    The HP gear is close to what I want but almost certain to be compromised with DRM restrictions.

    What I really want is something that is a larger equivalent of my Archos device. I want it to appear on the network as a PC with a large shared hard drive.

    I would want a minimum of 100Gb of storage.

    Alternatively a completely diskless pod with about 16Mb ram, an 802.11b network access point, sound output and some sorta TV interface would serve the same purpose. It could pull the toones off my PC server. With a larger buffer (128Mb or more) it could do video as well.

    • I would want a minimum of 100Gb of storage.

      Well have no fear, this unit has 320Gb (40GB) of storage.
  • This is so much pure provocation, it so sublime...

    I mean, waving such a big red flag in front of the RIAA is bound to generate interesting times.

    Now, let's see what happens when a progressive technological company takes a collision course with an obsolete industry based on artificial information scarcity...

  • A $1k device that can store 200+ hours of degraded music!

    On the other hand, one could buy a couple of Sony 400 CD changers for $400 each. Since we're talking about a component for your home sound system the better sound is worth the extra space.

    MP3 is small (=portable) so why not use it where it works best? You planned on leaving the CD's at home anyway, right?

  • I bet it doesn't support Ogg Vorbis (unless Bruce Perens something to do with this...) which basically means that this is another useles product for me.

  • by ablair ( 318858 )
    ...if it retails for $500. At $1000, as I'm sure many people have pointed out before you can buy a PC with a much more than the 566MHz Celeron and 40GB hard drive. The PC will also do a heck of a lot more than just store 9000 tracks and burn CDs; plus you won't be required to see their ads and can use CompuServe, AOL, or free ISPs if you want to, unlike with this unit. Not that I would want to use those ISPs, but HP is cutting, what... 50% of US internet users out of their customer pool this way? Great economics.

    Apple may get similarly criticised for cutting out non-Mac users (95%!) out of their iPod customer pool, and also for overpricing the portable 5Gig iPod ($399) But we're dealing with apples and oranges here: Apple's motivation is to add value to owning a Mac and be innovative at the same time, to differentiate themselves further in the market. With no uniqueness, this HP product will find itself lost in the consmer woods.

    And Cmdr Taco, didn't you say "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." in your coverage [slashdot.org] of the iPod? But for this (unquestionably much "lamer") product you say "I totally need a review model! I saw this thing at the last LinuxWorld and it looked good..." Spltt! Ack!! Barf!!!

    Put down the crack pipe.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats