HP puts high-end Media Centers on Ice

HP puts high-end Media Centers on Ice

Following in the footsteps of local PC manufacturers, Altech and Claritas, HP has announced it will preload its high-end M Series Pavillion Media Center range with the locally developed Ice TV software and program guide.

The offer will feature one-, six- and twelve-month subscriptions to the guide, which can be activated via the IceTV website.

According to HP's consumer desktop market development manager, Manpal Jagpal, Ice TV will require little channel training but should make Media Center PCs easier to use.

While there are other guides on the market, he claimed Ice TV provided the most comprehensive service and closest integration with Microsoft's Media Center Edition software.

The Ice TV program guide combines software with a subscription-based service first launched in April 2005. Company CEO, Duncan Ross, said the HP announcement was just the latest in a series of wins for the digital entertainment technology start-up, which was in the process of fundraising for an ASX listing.

"We really began marketing the tool in July 2005, starting with manufacturers of personal video recorders," he explained. "We're also distributing the software through local systems builders but HP is our largest partner so far."

More than 1500 subscribers already use the service, with up to 200 new customers signing on each month, but Ross said it was still a long way from profitability.

"The success of Media Center PCs depends on our product because it makes Media Center work for the average consumer," he said. "Retailers will find it easier to demonstrate a Media Center PC bundled with Ice TV because anyone who can use a remote can use the Ice TV guide."

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