If your looking for the latest in digital home gear from HP, forget it if you live in Australia.

It appears that the company that brags about its ability to “Invent” seems to have forgotten Australia when it comes to the latest in smart LCD TV’s, Plasma, set top boxes running Linux or the latest in media servers. It appears that Australia which is renoun for being “early” technology adopters does not count with HP management.

At an all dancing all banging media event at the recent CEDIA Expo in the USA something that HP seem better at than delivering functioning digital home products the company made the startling claim that the TV is the centre of most people’s homes, something that interior designers have known for years while announcing a line of LCD TVs with integrated Wi-Fi home networking capability.

Three LCD TVs including a 26″, 32″ and 37″ wides screen and with built-in ATSC tuners and digital CableCARD slots will ship by October 2005 in the US market but not in Australia. In fact you will be lucky if you ever see them , a bit like the HP iPod that was coming last year but was never launched. Then there was the plasma screen range that never quite made it to Australia or the Linux based media server. This is the same company that recently lost its lead in terms of worldwide PC shipments to rival Dell in the first quarter of this year yet brags about its prowess in the digital home market.

All of HPs new LCD models feature proprietary HP 3D Color Enrichment System and Photo-Realistic Sharpness Enhancement. The company also includes in the sets an automatic ambient light adjustment system that combines ambient light information with scene-by-scene light information to optimize the brightness level of display for the room, regardless of the time of day. All of the models feature a new industrial design featuring a polished acrylic bezel and detachable side-mounted speakers. Sounds nice if you can get it.
HP said the new panels also feature a broad supply of connectivity options, including HDMI-HDCP, VGA-compatible DVI and two IEEE-1394 ports.

Mr Guyon Collins Marketing Manager for HP’s Consumer Products Division in Australia said when asked why HP was not launching HP’s range of digital home products in Australia “We are still evaluating them for the market in Australia and the region”. When asked what there was to be evaluated he said “Market conditions are different in many parts of the world. We have to take this into consideration”. When asked why companies like BenQ, Samsung, Acer and Sony were falling over themselves to launch LCD TV’s in Australia Collins did not have an answer.One reason according to retail sources is that retailers like Harvey Norman or Good Guys do not want to stock digital home products from an IT Vendor. The only way that Harvey Norman would consider seling the HP range was via a HP shop within Harvey Norman run and funded by HP.

Collins said” We are a company that invents products. We make sure that they are right for a particular market. We work with company’s like Texas Instruments to deliver the latest in digital home technology”. When it was pointed out to Collins that Texas Instruments had recently launched at the same CEDIA Expo in the USA new DLP 1080p resolution chips  for the ultimate HD viewing and that several manufacturers including HP competitors Barco, InFocus, Marantz, Mitsubishi, Panasonic,  Optoma, Runco Samsung, Sharp, SIM2 and Yamaha had allready announced products at the Expo with the technology but not HP, Collins said that he could not comment.

Alex Thatcher, HP’s digital TV solutions product marketing manager said of the new HP LCD TV’s. “After it is set up you can play music, watch a slide show while listening to music, and play a video.”By the time the networking TVs are ready to ship, HP plans to announce partnerships with key video content suppliers offering Internet services, Thatcher said. The software, which ships with the system, features an interface developed in-house by HP. The software will support a variety of digital rights management systems, including Windows DRM.Thatcher said HP is initially including the networking system in unspecified LCD TVs in a effort to “build a platform” that could eventually spread to other display technologies in HP’s line.

Digital Home products NOT Launched by HP in Australia 

Product TypeCategory SizeModel
HP iPodMP3 Player iPod
HP PlasmaTV42″PE4240N
HP PlasmaTV42″PL4245N
Entertainment CenterPlayer HPZ555
Entertainment CenterPlayer HPZ555
Entertainment CenterPlayer HPZ552
Entertainment CenterPlayer HPZ557

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