updated 09:30 am EST, Mon January 8, 2007
Sony VAIO Media Hub PCs
Sony opened its presence at CES with a plethora of new VAIO PCs that join the company's Digital Living System line of media center PCs. Standing out among the launches is the TP1 Living Room PC (pictured), a premium challenger to Apple's Mac mini. Its cylindrical white design signals its role as a centerpiece for a home theater, Sony says, a fact reflected in the system's features: the TP! sports both analog and HDTV broadcast tuners as well as HDMI output, allowing it to serve even HD-quality audio and video through a single cable to a TV. The system achieves its small size by using a mobile Core 2 Duo processor but still integrates a 300GB hard drive, a dual-layer DVD rewriter, built-in Wi-Fi, and a dual-format CompactFlash/Memory Stick card reader. Sony plans a launch in March for $1,600.
Accompanying the TP1 is the more advanced XL3, an update to the XL series that brings the company's home theater PC further into high-definition. The new version adds not only Blu-Ray but also a one-way CableCARD reader, adding two new sources of HD video to the previous generation's ATSC digital broadcast tuner. Performance has been upgraded to handle the extra demands, according to the company. A desktop Core 2 Duo processor, a GeForce 7600 GTL video card, and 2GB of RAM promise glitch-free playback even when other tasks run in the background. Storage has also been increased to 500GB for extra recording space. The XL3 will launch at the same time as the TP1 for a price of $3,300.
Click through for a photo of the XL3 as well as details of the range-topping VAIO RM.
The company finished its series of media-centric PC announcements with the VAIO RM (pictured below), a high-end PC designed equally for authoring HD video and its playback. Previously released in Japan as the R Master, the RM is characterized by a unique dual-sided case: the Blu-Ray drive and other removable storage sit in a smaller compartment that rests as far away as six feet from the main tower, which can remain hidden under a desk or a cabinet. In American trim, the RM will ship with a Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a GeForce 7600 GT for graphics, and 1TB of hard drive space. The computer will be ready in March for $3,500.