HP announces 2.5 Software Update for EX485/EX487 MediaSmart Servers

by Alex Kuretz on April 12, 2009 · 46 comments

in News

Today HP is announcing the upcoming release of a Software Update to the Windows Home Server powered EX485 and EX487 MediaSmart Server. The primary new features delivered in the 2.5 release are a Remote Video Streaming capability, a video conversion utility, and the HP iStream iPhone Application for remote media access. The update will also include several software enhancements and bug fixes. The 2.5 Software Update will be a free update to EX485/EX487 customers and will be available in late April.

Updated Server Console tab

Upon installation of the 2.5 Software Update, users will be presented with a slightly updated HP Server Console tab that displays a welcome message describing the new features in the 2.5 release, links to install the 2.5 update on your client PC or Mac, and a new tab for the HP Video Converter.

HP Server Console tab

HP Server Console tab

HP Video Converter

The HP Video Converter enables the server to automatically transcode popular video formats into both high and mobile quality MPEG-4 (H.264) versions while leaving the original source files intact for users to delete, archive, or re-convert at a later date. The high resolution version is for streaming to most devices in the home, such as your PC or Mac, digital media receivers, Xbox 360, or PS3. The mobile resolution version will stream remotely to your PC, Mac, iPhone or iPod Touch, and can also be downloaded for playback on popular devices such as the Playstation Portable (PSP) and other mobile devices.

Here are the file types supported by the HP Video Converter:

  • AVI (DivX, Xvid, MJPEG)
  • DVR-MS (MPEG-2)
  • MP4 (MPEG4)
  • WMV
  • Unprotected DVD VOB
  • Most digital camera video clip formats

Note that copy protected (CSS) .vob files cannot be transcoded by the HP Video Converter.

Here is a look at the new interface elements of the HP Video Converter feature. The main HP Server Console tab has a Status section that displays all the converted videos, while the Settings tab allows the user to enable/disable the Converter and define which Shared Folders are to be monitored for conversion.

HP Video Converter status

HP Video Converter status

HP Video Converter settings tab

HP Video Converter settings tab

Remote Media Streaming

In the initial release of the EX485/EX487 MediaSmart Servers, HP delivered (via Twonky) the ability to stream music and photos over the web. HP has now added the ability to stream video content as well through the same Remote interface. They have also updated the interface in the Remote streamer, here are images of the Photos and Videos tabs.

Media Streamer photo tab

Media Streamer photo tab

Media Streamer video tab

Media Streamer video tab

I was not provided an image of the updated Music Streaming tab, however from the demo I saw in the press briefing it appears that HP listened to feedback from the community and has improved that interface to provide some filtering and improved organization of content.

HP iStream iPhone Application

The HP iStream iPhone Application provides access to all the media stored on the MediaSmart Server, and will be available for free download via the iTunes App Store. Here is a collection of images of the iPhone Application.

iPhone landing page

iPhone landing page

iPhone music viewer

iPhone music viewer

iPhone photo viewer list

iPhone photo viewer list

iPhone photo viewer image

iPhone photo viewer image

iPhone video viewer

iPhone video viewer

This feature will in many cases mitigate the need to sync content since all your media will be available to stream from your Home Server. However you’ll want to make sure you have content stored on the iPhone for flights or other situations where you won’t have internet access.

Enhancements and bug fixes

There are several enhancements and bug fixes listed in the 2.5 Software Update release announcement, including an improved mobile streaming experience, more robust Media Collector, improved Apple Time Machine configuration, and the ability to create public and private albums in the Photo Viewer.


The new features announced in the 2.5 Software Update are a very nice addition to the suite of offerings that sets the MediaSmart Server above the other OEM Home Servers that are currently available. The premise of the iPhone app is a logical one given the huge popularity of that device, and since I don’t have an iPhone I look forward to hearing from you all how well it works.

The HP Video Converter is a great idea, as I think people really do struggle with codecs, file types, and compatibility with their chosen digital media receiver. I’m hopeful that this feature will take out some of the challenge that inhibits and frustrates users with getting their content distributed throughout the house. I’ll find it very interesting to hear if people are converting their content and discarding the original, or if this becomes yet another copy of a file that people will be hanging on to.

And like the iPhone app, I think the remote video streaming is a cool feature that will appeal to a set of users, but I do not believe this feature is where it needs to be in order to really supply a rich media experience outside the home. This is in no part the fault of HP as they have made a step in the right direction, but I just don’t think that I personally will be watching my video collection over the internet on my mobile phone or laptop. However, if live and/or recorded TV content were able to streamed so I could watch the MotoGP race while I’m not at home, that would be an amazing experience.

From a personal perspective, I am probably most excited to see the additional enhancements and bug fixes that were announced. While there haven’t been any overwhelming failures, we have seen enough issues being reporting in the forums that I think this update will be very welcome to many users. We’ve seen reports of problems with the server sleep feature, lots of reports of strange behavior from the Media Collector, and several Mac users having difficulty with their Time Machine backups. I’m anxious to try out the updated music streamer to see if it resolves the issues I reported in my EX487 review.

What about the EX470/EX475?

Yes, I did wonder about this and asked HP for a status update on when we’d see the promised software update for the EX470 and EX475 MediaSmart Servers. I was told that HP still plans to release a software update for the 1st generation servers, however they still do not have a timetable to share.

What are your thoughts on the 2.5 update, and which features are you most interested in using? Chime in here or in this forum post.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of MediaSmartServer.net. I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


JohnBick April 12, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Like all EX47x owners I am disappointed that there are no updates for us in this..

T-Bone April 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I feel a little jaded by hp on this one. I would love to see the iPhone feature hits the EX47X.

Colin April 12, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Will the iPhone streaming work for iTunes video with its DRM?

Awesome if so, but ho hum if it doesn’t (all of my digital video is purchased from iTunes).

Alex Kuretz April 13, 2009 at 12:06 am

Hi Colin,

I don’t know the answer to that for sure, but I would suspect that DRM content will not be available. I’ll post back if I find out for sure.


Igor April 13, 2009 at 5:20 am

I am sure Hp is just waiting on our ex47x warrantees to run out so they no longer have to support the product, therefore no longer have to provide a update. I have seen HP do this before…. and it sucks.

Hp just delays long enough that a update is no longer “Needed”.

Amanda April 13, 2009 at 7:57 am

Just in case anyone from HP pops over occasionally, I’d also like to add my voice to the chorus regarding this not being available for the previous version servers… my server is only 16 months old, it’s totally ridiculous that a software update is not being made available for it. This is software, not hardware, and this seems to be a decision intended to make me update when there is nothing wrong with my current hardware. Not cool, HP. Slingbox is trying to pull this number right now with their new iPhone client, and they have pissed off a lot of early adopters, too.

Texas-Hansen April 13, 2009 at 8:21 am

This looks like some great improvements to the EX48x software and I’m glad to see that HP is still investing time and effort in the MSS to improve it. However, I’m very disappointed that it seemingly appears that no effort is being put into updating the EX47x series software to make it on par with the EX48x. It seems that HP is forgetting that without all the EX47x users out there buying, using and talking up the MSS, the EX48x would likely never have come to fruition. HP, please do not turn your head on the folks that have supported you for so long.

T-Bone April 13, 2009 at 9:53 am

Texas-Hansen – I think HP has forgotten how the early adaptors supported HP and a Crippled product when the EX47x was first released. if it wasnt for these people the product line could have been crippled beyond repair.

Colin April 13, 2009 at 10:21 am

Rumor has it that the reason the original MediaSmart Server doesn’t get the software update is because the hardware is too weak to handle it (so says Engadget).

I’m not sure how true that is, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

Alex Kuretz April 13, 2009 at 10:28 am


Engadget is correct, in the press release HP stated that performance was the reason behind not providing this feature for the EX470/EX475. However, my personal feeling is that the 512MB of memory is the primary limitation as I have to question how a 2.0ghz Celeron could be that much faster than a 1.8 or 2.0ghz Sempron.

revengineer April 13, 2009 at 10:39 am

Ok, HP has definitely abandoned the 47x users. Our praise a few months ago was way too premature. Now the only thing we can do is help ourselves. I was wondering if we can get the 48x software to run on the 47x (with RAM upgrade of course). So, has anyone has tried using the 48x recovery DVD with the 47x? If this does not work, can the HP software be extracted from the 48x installation? Alex probably has some pretty good inside as of what can be done and what cannot. rev.

Alex Kuretz April 13, 2009 at 10:48 am

revengineer, it would be difficult and problematic to use the Server Recovery disk to get the EX48x software on the EX47x hardware, we discuss this a bit here.

I think a preferable route would be to see what HP says and does in the next month or so, and then pursue our own avenues to get the features we want through Add-In development.

Chris Bridge April 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

indeed, where’s the EX48x updates? come on HP, don’t make me bail on you for future purchases.

Chris Bridge April 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm

oops. EX47x I meant.

T-Bone April 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Im with yakuza Im not sure that the processors are that diffrent. Hp could always do a custom install configuration to see if the ram has been upgraded to an acceptable level. if it hasnt been it could notify the owner of the Mediasmart on upgrade paths to install the update. This shouldnt be that hard isnt like they are pioneering new ground.

maj_rocks April 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm

After owning my HP-MSS for a little less than a year i have finally started to trust the OS and hardware enough to put all critical pieces of information on it. Whether it be going paperless with Digital Archound, automatically archiving emails from multiple servers with Mailstore Server, or creating .iso images of all my software, movies, every bit of music, photos, and family video. My HP-MSS 475 has been more than up to the task, the thought of upgrading over a few added features doesn’t seem worth the stress of making a big deal about “feeling abandoned” by HP. In not so many words from Alex, there will probably be enough add-ons that surface from this next update that make the 47x series machines capable of all the same features as the newer MSS models.

Besides; the thought of migrating all of my files to a new machine doesn’t sit well with me……too much work !!

Lack of EX47X updates, ugh April 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I’ll add my disappointment here, as well. I wrote a bit of a response on MediaSmart Home, and one of the regular posters, John Bick left a shortcut to this article as well, suggesting we bring our grumpiness to this site…

The primary reason I purchased the server was to have functionality with Macs. This is the real world, folks, there’s no reason why HP can’t provide a Mac control panel for the MSS (not the web panel), so that regular backups via Time Machine can be accomplished. Is the plan to “force” us to buy a new server after we established and solidified this market for HP?

Complete bad faith. To add insult to injury, I actually spoke to a customer service rep (via chat) at HP prior to making my purchase, and she assured me that the Time Machine support was CURRENTLY available for the EX47X’s. If anyone doubts this, I’ll be happy to forward a transcript of the chat, which HP sends automatically. You’ll see I was very clear about which model and capabilities I was asking for.

HP needs to get the update out now, or provide a time-line, and not let it drop off the map in 12 months, when the last of the warrantys dries up.

hakr April 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Unless there is some reason why you prefer Time Machine, I’d recommend using SuperDuper with your EX47X. I did, and it worked just fine.

Alex Kuretz April 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Hi Lack,

HP has written me to confirm that the S3 Online Backup and Mac Backup features will be released in an update to the EX47x servers in the May time frame.

I do agree with Hakr that the SuperDuper solution seems better in some ways, you can read more about that here.

Phil April 15, 2009 at 8:19 am

Hey guys, (Alex and hakr), I appreciate the confirmation (whew) of Time Machine backups, and do recall the SuperDuper article. The thing is that I don’t necessarily want to do software “hacks” or spend time with add-ins for something HP promised to provide as a part of their “appliance.” I love my EX470, and appreciate that the eSATA multiplier is available on this model, while not so much on EX48X. I think my disappointment comes more from feeling misled, than anything else. I’ll check out SuperDuper again, and thanks to you both.

MrTichy April 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

When is this update being pushed down? It is not showing on my EX485?

Alex Kuretz April 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm

HP has said this will be available in late April.

MrTichy April 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I wish HP addresed issue where ISPs are blocking TCP 80. This basically kills my remote connectivity. I am still looking for a workaround.

Alex Kuretz April 15, 2009 at 1:20 pm

HP has always had a workaround for this, it is the Secure Web Forwarding feature that is enabled by default when you use a TZO domain name.

MrTichy April 15, 2009 at 1:27 pm

My EX485 is unable to configure this feature automatically. It comes back with an error. I’ll play with some router features to see it I can make it work. My FW is off and UPnP is on. Any suggestions or links where I can get more info on this?

Alex Kuretz April 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I’d probably suggest starting a Troubleshooting topic in the forums so that the community can chime in and help. “An error” doesn’t help much, we need screenshots and more details and I’d rather that type of debug occur in the forums, especially since it’s not really related to the 2.5 software update.

kris April 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Just talked to HP support – they know nothing of this firmware update, but verified that the EX485 does not support port multipliers. I am evaluating EX485 and considering reverting to EX470 because of the port multiplier support – does anyone know if the new firmware update will support port multipliers???


Alex Kuretz April 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm

It will not enable support for port multipliers, to the best of my knowledge and from what I’ve been told by HP this will never be available for the EX485 or EX487.

solo April 16, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I’m extremely happy to hear that the update will give the ability to create public and private albums in the Photo Viewer. That this feature was not available on my new ex485 was very disappointing. I am also looking forward to video streaming, the iphone streaming and video conversion.

t-bone April 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I have been mulling a lot of this over an looking at both sides. The are features in the update that HP is providing that aren’t HP products. Lets take Twonky for an example, it could be that HP cant just give this update to everyone. I assume that there is a contract Twonky has with HP that forbids them from selling it to WHS generally. What I mean is that HP is marketing the MSS with certain features some they got with the Twonky add-in. If twonky sold this software to anyone that had a WHS, HP wouldnt have feature that would entice buyers. That being said Twonky definitely doesnt want HP giving their product to everyone and tehir uncle so they probably put in specifics on how the add-in could and couldnt be distibuted to people.

So what am I trying to say? were screwed!! unless someone has access to the new add-in and can transfer it the the old system and see if it can work. But then distrubuting something like that goes into one of those awakward gray areas taht all message boards forbid you talking about.

Chris April 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

HP sucks for basically giving early adopters the middle finger.

They initally promised we would get an update to have all the features.

Then they said it would just be Mac and S3 in the update, both of which I don’t give a crap about.

That was a looong time ago, so where are we now? Same place, except they won’t even confirm any timeline (read: who cares when it happens if ever)

This is all BS from HP.

Alex Kuretz April 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Hi Chris,

I understand the frustration, however I recall HP only ever telling me that the S3 and Mac Backup features would be made available to the EX47x servers, the entire EX48x package was never promised in their communications to me. They have also given me a timeline of the May as the target release date for the EX47x update.


Peter K. May 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Alex, any news on that May release of the Mac Backup feature for the EX47x line? I’m wondering if this has been superseded by the future release of 2.5 on disc for EX47x users in late 2009? I bought mine through Costco and am about ready to take it back and buy the EX485 for $100 more than I paid for the EX470. I can live without multiple external eSata device compatibility, but I just bought a Macbook.

Alex Kuretz May 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

I’ve not heard any updates on this, if we haven’t seen it mid-next week I’ll ping HP for an update.

John August 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Is this still going to happen?

Alex Kuretz August 31, 2009 at 2:51 pm

John, what is the “this” that you are referring to? HP released the 2.5 update for the EX48x servers, and they have released the Mac and Amazon S3 backup solution for the EX47x servers. Also, an update to the EX47x servers to allow them to run the latest version of the MediaSmart Server is “planned in the fall” timeframe.

John September 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Yeah i’m not sure what i was thinking i was reading a bunch of articles at once and thought this was only about the 2.5 for EX47x upgrade to 2.5 I had not heard any updates about a timeframe and wanted to know when it might happen. sorry for the lack of clarity.

Omar February 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm

i have problem with opdate 2.5 every time i try to install opdate 2.5 i get masseg Hp mediasmart server 2.1 is not found in the server you must install hpmss 2.1 on the server befor you install hpmss 2.5 updrade. your system has nit been changed. install will exit now

i don’t know what haben plz help

Alex Kuretz February 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

You’re best off checking out the forums and making a new post to get help if you can’t find the answer there.

Omar February 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm

i try but i don’t unstand wall
sorry my bad english but can you help me ?
I appreciate your help if you could

Alex Kuretz February 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Here is the exact forum topic that should have the info you need to resolve the problem.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

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