HP DreamScreen Unboxing and Initial Thoughts

HP DreamScreen unboxing 1

Having covered digital photo frames and widget-ized devices for a while, I was psyched to have the HP DreamScreen arrive on my doorstep yesterday for review. I’ve barely had time to turn the DreamScreen on, but wanted to share some initial thoughts based on the unboxing and what I’ve read from other reviews of the device.

First, the packaging of this thing is beautiful. I have to admit, if you’re going to sell me a device for a couple hundred bucks, it doesn’t hurt to make the unboxing a thrilling experience – something Apple learned early on. Second, you can unwrap everything and have the DreamScreen powered on in about five minutes. Third, the device itself is beautiful – both the slick, black surface and the resolution on the DreamScreen. More on that later.

HP DreamScreen unboxing 6 inside package

Before I dig in to a full product review, I also want to mention one particular complaint that has been made about this device in the press. The DreamScreen’s gotten dinged for including only widgets, not a Web browser. Respectfully, we disagree with that sentiment. Dave and I both feel that a product like this doesn’t need a full-on browser. That’s what my netbook is for. If this device is going to sit in my living room or kitchen, I don’t want it to be something I use to get work done or browse for content on at length. I want it to provide snippets of information and entertainment. That said, I don’t want it to be a static device either. As my Squeezebox has shown, it’s possible to continue delivering software updates which provide new content and applications. That’s what I want from the next screen in my home.

Stay tuned for the DreamScreen hands-on review. In the meantime, take a look at the gallery of unboxing pics below.

2 thoughts on “HP DreamScreen Unboxing and Initial Thoughts”

  1. Please help me figure out if the HP DreamScreens can do the following: I’m looking for a photo frame that automatically turns on and starts displaying what ever pictures are stored on my networked computer.

    I know the DreamScreen is capable of displaying (streaming) pictures from “any computer with Windows Media Player 11”, but what I don’t know is if it will enter this mode automatically.

    I don’t want a photo frame that requires me to go through a menu every time I want to display pictures from my computer. I want one that will automatically boot and start randomly streaming/displaying all of my pictures, no user interaction required. Will the new DreamScreens do this?

    If so, I’m placing my order. Looking forward to the full review.

  2. Carlton- keep shopping. Although I haven’t tested the streaming feature yet, the demo practically warns users away from it. And every digital frame I’ve seen is focused more on displaying photos from internal memory, or a USB stick or storage card. That said, if you happen to use Snapfish (as I do), the DreamScreen requires only one or two clicks to start up a slide show of photos from your Snapfish account. Since I have years worth of photos stored there, it’s an appealing feature for me.

    Once Wi-Fi starts doing point-to-point connections, I assume we’ll see better connectivity between digital frames and PCs. But that’s going to take some time.

    Full review coming up in the next day or two.

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