HP introduces 17-inch Media Center notebook

HP introduces 17-inch Media Center notebook

HP has unveiled a 17-inch digital entertainment notebook that is available with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 operating system and a standalone digital video recorder.

The HP Media Center zd8000 series notebooks would be available in the US from December 15 in a variety of configurations, technical marketing manager at HP, Kevin Wentzel, said.

The $US1399 desktop replacement notebook was designed as a mobile digital media hub for students, families or other home users, he said. Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 was unveiled last month.

Many analysts feel it is the software maker's best attempt yet at creating an operating system for consumers to manage their audio and video entertainment. It improves support for wireless devices and adds support for two TV tuners and over-the-air high definition television.

Users coulf watch live television on the HP zd8000 series notebooks by connecting the HP Dual TV Tuner/Digital Video Recorder to the notebooks through a USB port, Wentzel said.

This device also features an FM radio tuner.

The TV and radio tuners were in a standalone device because connecting and disconnecting PCs to audio entertainment receivers could be a painstaking task, especially for a device that is somewhat portable, Wentzel said.

At 4.5kg, users won't want to take their zd8000 on business trips, but the notebook could be moved around various rooms within the home, he said.

A dual TV tuner allowed users to watch one program while recording another on their digital video recorder, Wentzel said. The device included support for standard cable connections.

Another interesting feature on the zd8000 is the optional removable USB drive. The drive is the size of a PC card, fits inside a special bay in the body of the notebook and can be removed to transfer files to another PC.

Building a dedicated slot for the card into the notebook's chassis cuts down on the opportunity for users to lose the USB drive, Wentzel said.

The zd8000 is a true desktop replacement notebook in that it uses desktop processing technology. HP uses the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 processor from Intel alongside the 915P chipset, also known as Grantsdale.

This allows the zd8000 to support DDR2 memory and PCI Express graphics cards.

A base configuration of the zd8000 notebook will cost an estimated $US1399 after rebates, depending on the retail outlet. HP has not finalised the configurations for the notebook, even though it has determined the price, an HP spokesperson said.

It would only be available in the US at launch, and HP had no definitive plans to launch the notebook in other markets, she said.

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