Sony’s Vaio Type X Media Centre

Sony have launched their latest convergent device onto the Japanese market – a digital media centre for the home with huge storage and potential. The Vaio Type X is essentially a PC with four 250Gb hard drives and seven television tuners in it, though “only” 500Gb is available for PVR functions. This means that lucky Japanese owners can record everything that’s broadcast on the country’s seven network stations all week, and then just delete the shows they’re not interested in. This brings timeshifting television into an entirely different phase with consumers selecting what they don’t want to watch, rather than what they do want.

Recorded programmes are presented in a thumbnail view, so that users can visually select what they want to watch – Sony call this the Time Machine View, and content can be sorted in a number for ways, chronologically or by genre for example.

The Vaio Type X has two tuner cards with three analogue tuners each – plus an integrated tuner on the main board itself. A digital tuner is an optional extra.

The other 500Gb is for the PC part of the Vaio X, based around a 3.6Ghz P4 with 1 gig of RAM and an ATI Radeon X600XT video card.

Sadly, Sony have no plans to market the Vaio X outside Japan, so we will have to wait to see what they have planned for the international market.

The Vaio Type X

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?