HP MediaSmart EX495: Dual Core, 7TB, Time Machine, Built-in Video Converter, iStream

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Photo courtesy: Engadget (I took the liberty of cropping, changing it to black & white, adding a bit of saturation, increasing contrast and reducing the exposure just a bit.)

Engadget: At first glance I thought the new EX495 was just an updated home server from HP. The EX495 replaces the EX487 (and the slower EX490 replaces the EX485). But I looked closer and realized this is a gem, with a price to match. The EX495 sports an Intel Dual Core CPU, 2GB of RAM and four HDD cages that can handle 2TB drives each for a total of 8TB. The actual data you get to use is 7TB due to the redundancy overhead. If that was all the goodies packed into the updated home server the EX495 wouldn’t be much news. The interesting parts are software.

Software Here’s a quick list of new software capabilities:

  • Administrative features for Mac users: Direct access to the Windows Home Server console from OS X. But you will still need to complete the initial setup from a PC. I wonder if a PC virtual machine would work…
  • Time Machine: Supports full restores from Time Machine and bare metal recovery.
  • Media Collector: Consolidates all media files from iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes into a single library. Hurray! iTunes library sharing is still there too.
  • Video Converter: This feature monitors one or more folders for video files and will convert them into two MP4 video files using H.264 video compression and 2-channel AAC audio. One file will be full quality and the other will be mobile quality. The two files will be stored in a new “Converted Videos” folder under FQ for full quality and MQ for mobile quality. The files that Video Converter can work with are: AVI (DivX, XviD, MJPEG), WMV, MPG, VOB (unprotected), MOV, MP4/M4V, DVR-MS. As you can guess, Video Converter works together with iStream.
  • iStream: You can stream media off of the EX495 (and the slower EX490) directly to your iPhone or iPod touch.

The Video Converter will save so much time and for that lone the EX495 is worth a serious consideration if you have a bunch of video files to store and backup in a safe place. Of course, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch the iStream app makes getting to your multmedia collection that much easier! I’m guessing it’ll work with Apple TV too.

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