|I don't have any experience with the HP MediaSmart Connect product, but as with any other appliance/device like it, you should look very carefully at it before buying. From your original post I thought one of your primary goals was to find something useful to do with the 2.1 Athlon computer which you already have. Depending on the video capability of that computer, it seems like it could be configured to do most of what a new HP machine will do. It's really not that hard to set up a computer to save and store video and audio media on, the difficult part is setting up a system where you can sit on your couch and use a remote control to access the media from your TV. I don't know if the HP product will do that and if that's what you ultimately want, then you'd better make sure that's something the MediaSmart will do. I do know that you'll have to put the MediaSmart by your TV, it will not connect "wirelessly" to your TV. My impression is that what most of these kinds of products are really about is connecting customers to media "services" which come with a monthly bill.|
As far as using it as a home network file server, well I suppose since what a "media server" really does is serve "media files", then it would also able to serve other files as well. That can be accomplished by a "network storage device" as well, and at much less cost.
Since your going to be "retiring" your Athlon computer anyway, meaning you don't have any other use for it, why don't you go ahead and experiment with some of these free software media servers? First, back it up in it's current working configuration so that you can always restore it to what it was in case things just don't work at all. Then, do a little research on some of the free software packages for setting up a media server. Try them out and see if you can get them to do what you want. If nothing else, you will learn a lot and be better able to make an informed decision about buying a product like the HP MediaSmart. Worse case, you can't get anything to work right and you'll just use the backup you made to restore the Athlon and think of something else to do with it.