New HP Laptops Feature 3D, Wireless HDTV Streaming

HP is anouncing a bunch of consumer laptop news today, including models with emphasis on 3D, audio, and cool performance–plus an adapter that lets users stream high-definition movies from a computer to an HDTV. I got a preview during press briefings which the company held last week.

The most striking new product is the Envy 17 3D, a version of HP’s high-performance, high-style 17-inch Envy that’s ready for 3D Blu-Ray movies. Most of the 3D PCs I’ve seen use Nvidia’s active-shutter glasses, but the Envy has ATI graphics rather than Nvidia, and comes with HP-branded specs based on technology from a company called XpanD. It also comes with some sample 3D video from the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. The footage was fun to watch–and I speak as a 3D skeptic–but it also points out the biggest issue with 3D: There’s still almost no content available.

HP plans to ship the 3D Envy for the holidays and hasn’t set the price yet. (The non-3D Envy 17 currently starts at $1399.99.)

The 14-inch Envy is also getting a specialized edition. The company has already been shipping one aimed at DJs that features Beats audio–a sound system developed in cooperation with Dr. Dre. Now it’s taking the idea mainstream with a $1249 Envy that comes with Beats audio and a Beats headset. It also has a striking black-and-red case, with a keyboard with red backlighting. (It’s a neat effect even if you don’t care about the sound subsystem.)

The Envy 14 Beats Edition is available now, starting at $1249.

The third new HP notebook isn’t a specialty machine like the Envies–it’s the Pavilion dm3, a 13.3? model with a focus on cool, quiet performance. (The cooling vents are on the left edge rather than on the bottom, so the don’t blast heat into your lap.) It starts at $549.

The company’s wireless HD product is called HP Wireless TV Connect. There’s nothing HP-specific about it–it should work with nearly any computer with an HDMI port. Rather than using a standard such as WirelessHD, HP came up with its own technology to shoot video from a PC to a TV. In HP’s demo, it worked: 1080p video streamed without any hiccups. And the company says that the only setup that’s required is plugging adapters into the TV and the computer.

But as you can see in the photo, the PC box isn’t a petite adapter; it’s…well, boxy, like an old-school external floppy drive. (It comes with clips that let you fasted it to the back of a laptop’s screen.)

The Wireless TV Connect is scheduled to ship next month for $199.

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