And before you say "what about HDTV?", be advised that HP claims it will release a version that records HDTV next year. For now, it will offer two models of the Digital Entertainment Center: one with a single NTSC tuner and 160GB hard drive for $1,499, and one with dual NTSC tuners, a 200GB hard drive and a removable, 160GB HP Personal Media Drive for $1,999. Not cheap, but considering how quickly PC prices fall and what Americans are accustomed to paying for top-of-the-line PCs, not a terribly expensive launch price, either.
Tweeter, for one, is quite intrigued by the HP Digital Entertainment Center. The retailer, in the midst of a comprehensive rebranding process, is unveiling its new prototype store in Las Vegas during CES, and the HP device will be a critical part of the experience for consumers. A series of demo rooms will enable customers to switch seamlessly between movies, television, music and photography, and load content for playback in any room of the "house," and HP's Digital Entertainment Center will power the media distribution. Customers will be able to learn about, and purchase, this HP device that makes it all happen.
Tweeter also will sell the HP product through its existing stores. Dave Malin, Tweeter vice president and general merchandise manager, says the product will be test-launched in 23 stores in Broward County, Fla., and in Chicago. It will be shown as part of a free-standing, four-sided display with other Media Center- and networking-related products from vendors like D-Link and Samsung.