HP MediaSmart Server available for pre-order


Ah Windows Home Server. I’m interested to see how it fares. I am of the opinion that marketing a $500+ home networking storage device to casual consumers is an odd choice. I could be wrong, though. I guess we’ll soon find out.

HP’s MediaSmart Server is now available for pre-order on major retailing websites like Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, CompUSA.com, and the like. There’s a 500GB version for $599 and a 1TB version for $749 (both suggested retail prices). They’ll ship “later in November,” according to Microsoft’s press release.

Here’s a brief overview of how Windows Home Server works…

“Windows Home Server is a ‘stay-at-home’ server that delivers the benefits of powerful server technology used by many people at work within a simple, easy-to-use solution for the home. It automatically backs up Windows XP-based and Windows Vista-based home computers each night, provides a central place to organize digital documents and media, and includes a free Windows Live Internet address to access the home server from virtually anywhere and share content with friends and family. It also monitors the health and security status of home computers and can stream media to other devices in the home, such as Xbox 360, allowing people to enjoy digital music, photos and videos on their television.”

I’m not convinced that there’s a huge market for this product. It seems too advanced for regular families and too expensive and unnecessary for geeks. I picture the late-thirties hipster dad buying this and having his buddies over after golf to wow them with how he can zoom photos around the house but when he tries to share photos with people over the internet, they just ask him to e-mail them instead.

I also see this same hipster dad trying to convince his awkward preteen children to put all of their photos and movies onto the server to share with the rest of the household and whoever else has access from the outside. Tough sell when children that age want nothing to do with their parents, lest they die of embarrassment.

It just seems like this is asking too much of casual consumers who are used to sending photos via e-mail and backing things up onto an external drive. That’s all. On paper, it looks cool and useful but the intangibles might be the biggest roadblock here.

Windows Home Server Available Now to Help Families Protect, Connect and Share Their Digital Experiences [Microsoft Press Release]