Dream theatrehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/dream-theatre-2/

Dream theatre

HP DreamScreen 400 is a computer,home theatre and even a home tutor for children.

HP DreamScreen 400 is a computer,home theatre and even a home tutor for children.

A few years ago,if you imagined a screen that caters to the entertainment,communication and educational needs of a family,you would have been told you were reading too much Isaac Asimov or asked to stop daydreaming. So DreamScreen is a good name for a full-fledged computer,an all-in-one home theatre,a convenience kiosk and a home tutor for children.

HP DreamScreen 400 is what you get when a computer starts to dream. Early last year,we saw the first affordable version of all-in-one computers from HP and Acer,PCs that were just large screens with the hardware tucked safely behind it — no need to bother about tangles of wires or special tables to prop them on. DreamScreen takes the concept forward,hoping to cash in on an untapped segment that hasn’t taken to computers completely.

Even a person who does not know how to use a keyboard can start using this computer without any trouble. The first thing you see when the 18.5-inch touchscreen is fired on is a Linux-based log-in screen with slots to accommodate everyone in the family. An account can be created in three easy steps,or touches,and the PC has no trouble managing multiple personalities.

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Once logged in,there won’t be any prizes for guessing that the most popular app on the screen will be for music and movies,though the latter lacks a bit of variety. But the music section is exhaustive with regional language selections and search options. While you can play the songs online for free,you have to pay if you decide to download the numbers — but the good thing is that all this is legal. The movie segment comes preloaded with a handful of the latest DVD releases,but I would have loved to see a video-on-demand option here. There is another Bollywood TV segment for those who need their daily dose of new from our Filmistan. The 1366×768 pixel screen and speakers ensure that you enjoy every moment of it.

Users can also log in to multiple email accounts — though not at the same time — and chat with contacts. There is a 1.3 MP webcam built into the top of the screen and this can be used to initiate videochats. The browser is Flash-enabled. To key in web addresses or to write email,you can use the touchscreen keypad,which opens by clicking a small icon on top of the screen. For those who prefer the old-fashioned way,there is a regular keyboard and mouse.

HP has tied up with 12 service providers to ensure that DreamScreen breaks the “barriers to PC adoption” in our country. There is an education segment,where children can subscribe to interactive classes for science and math till Class XII at a small fee,a Live Darshan app to get our daily blessings,a horoscope segment so that fate can play its traditional part in our lives,an app to pay utility bills so that we don’t have to be the nth person in the queue on the last day and a travel app to book tickets and thus kiss the local travel agent goodbye.

There is even a bridal shopping section on the homescreen,though I’m not sure why it is there. This also highlights one of the drawbacks of the unit. The homescreen cannot be customised and you will have to live with all the 18 apps on it,unless there is a software upgrade that lets you do more.

It has a slot DVD drive,plus you can access files from external drives through the four USB slots and the built-in card reader. The utilities section leads you to regular computer features like WordPads,spreadsheets,etc. It has 250GB storage,but you can access only 140GB as the rest is used up by the huge amount of software on board. While the unit needs no installation and is ready to go as soon as you power it on,its weight — 7.2kg is a drawback for portability. Still,HP’s DreamScreen 400 could become an ideal product for the Indian market,more so due to the price: Rs 19,999. But you need a data card to breathe life into it— now you have the option of choosing from Tata Photon and Airtel.