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HP MediaSmart Receiver x280N: set-top Media Center Extender

HP joins the likes of D-Link and Linksys with its set-top MCE box.

HP MediaSmart Receiver x280N
HP's MediaSmart Receiver x280N streams media via a home network, or from an optional internal hard drive (shown on the right) HP

HP likes to hedge its bets. In addition to a couple of big-screen flat-panel TVs with built-in Media Center Extenders, the company is now offering a set-top box as well. Like the MediaSmart TVs, the MediaSmart Receiver x280N has the ability to stream a wide variety of video (including MPEG-2, DivX, WMV, WMV-HD, and H.264/MP4 files), audio (MP3, WMA, WMA-Pro, WAV, AAC/m4a), and images (JPEG, BMP, GIF, and PNG photos) from networked PCs to your living room TV via its wired Ethernet or wireless 802.11a/b/g/n connections. Local media playback is also available via plug-in USB drives or HP's own proprietary Pocket Media Drive (also found on many of the company's desktop PCs). The box boasts HDMI and component video output at HD resolutions up to 720p and 1080i. The MediaSmart Receiver x280N will connect easily to PCs running most flavors of Windows Vista--and will go head-to-head with very similar models from Linksys and D-Link when it becomes available later this year.