October 20, 2009 by Stephen Hopkins
It seems, these days, every device in your home can connect to a network in one form or fashion. Media players, televisions, refrigerators, coffee makers, toilet paper dispensers ... the list goes on and on.
Well, if you have a well-connected home, you should also have well-connected centralized storage to filter your media and other files out and about. NewEgg currently has the HP MediaSmart EX470 Windows Home Server (recertified), with 500GB of storage, 3 empty SATA bays, 4 USB ports, and 1 eSATA port for a low $252 after coupon code HP1X191. Similar models with less storage are selling for $500+ new (this one’s closer to $800 on Amazon).
If you’re not familiar with the Windows Home Server concept, it’s basically a low-power PC running as a remotely administered NAS, but with the ability to also run basic applications. This allows you to not only serve network shares, but also run content servers like PlayOn, pyTiVo (easy/free way to turn your TiVoHD into a media hub), or tons of other media centric server-side applications. This WHS app integration can allows you to easily serve your entire media collection, as well as online content, out to inexpensive “dumb” media streamers (like the new WD TV Live) that support network shares and uPnP server playback (eliminating the need for much more expensive Media Center PCs).
Or to your Ethernet-enabled espresso maker.
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Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.
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