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CES: Music stars back HP in piracy battle

HP plunges into entertainment products

Sheryl Crow, Dr. Dre, and Alicia Keys were among the major recording artists who backed Carly Fiorina on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show here on Thursday, where the Hewlett Packard chairman and CEO took perhaps the toughest stand yet by a technology industry executive against digital music piracy.

At a conference where products for recording and sharing digital content are in abundance, Fiorina said HP is determined to help stamp out the illegal copying of music and video by building tough protection technologies into virtually all its consumer products.

"Starting this year, HP will strive to build every one of our products to protect digital rights," she said.

In a photo opportunity most CEOs only dream of, Fiorina was joined on stage by a string of music industry heavyweights. The chorus included U2 guitarist The Edge, Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg, and Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscope label, which produces U2, Limp Bizkit, and others.

HP will build, license or acquire the best content protection technologies it can find to prevent its customers from illegally downloading and sharing copyright material, according to Fiorina.

The moves are part of a broader effort by HP to turn itself into a significant provider of digital consumer products.

Fiorina announced several new consumer products that will ship over the next 18 months, as HP tries to become a top provider of consumer electronics goods.

They will include competitively priced ?entertainment displays,? such as a 30in LCD screen and a 42in plasma screen.

Besides serving as high-quality television screens, the displays will play back digital movies and photographs from a PC and other sources.

HP will also "dramatically" cut the price of its digital projectors, which customers can use to build a home entertainment centre.

HP will sell a Media Center Extender, which Microsoft announced on Wednesday. It connects to a television to display content from a Media Center PC.

HP is also developing what Fiorina called an "entertainment hub? for the living room. The product will act as a central repository to store digital music and video, and also connect to a television so viewers can pause live TV and record programming.

"It will be sleek and stylish and work with existing products and devices, but it will work better with HP technologies," she said. She didn't offer a price or date for availability.

Finally, HP is developing a version of its IPaq handheld computer that doubles as a remote control for appliances in the home.


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