If you're like me, your digital photos, music, and video are starting to overwhelm you. Hewlett-Packard hopes to help multimedia enthusiasts manage their digital lives with its new MediaSmart Home Server. This handy piece of hardware is a massive storage device intended to serve the average PC household as a digital hub. It's meant to connect Windows-based PCs in a seamless network that requires little effort or expertise to configure and manage.
The brains behind the MediaSmart Home Server is Microsoft's Windows Home Server operating system--a variant of Windows Server 2003. But HP has customized the Microsoft OS with a set of unique multimedia applications and management utilities designed to get even more out of the server.
Microsoft has worked with HP and nearly a dozen other hardware partners to build home servers under various brands. HP has said that it intends to be the first major hardware manufacturer to bring a Windows Home Server-based device to market. I've been testing a preproduction version of its MediaSmart Home Server for several weeks.