Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sony's Vaio X: Like TiVo on Steroids

I have Tivo. One of my problems with it is let's say you have the sports package and you want to flip channels between all 7 NFL games on TV at 10 am PST on Sunday morning. My Tivo only has two if you flip to a channel right after a team does something exciting (scores a TD), you can't rewind and watch what just happened because the tuner just switched over to that channel. you could record two of the games, but then you are limited to watching only those two games. With this new Sony computer/home entertainment PC, it can simultaneously record 7 things at once...meaning it has 7 tuners. Meaning I can rewind any game I want! That's the shiznit!To understand the Vaio X computer it's best to think of it as three things packed into one black, shiny box.
On one side it's a multimedia personal computer, with two 250GB hard drives and a television tuner. Users can do all the normal things they would with one of the company's Vaio computers including recording television programs from a single analog channel or, via an optional unit, a digital TV channel.
Also packed into its tower-PC sized case are two video server boards. Each unit contains three analog TV tuners and is connected to a 250GB hard drive. The unit runs on the Micro iTron operating system and the interface with the rest of the PC is via an Ethernet port, says Junji Tsuyuki, a senior product producer at Sony's IT and mobile solutions network department.
The three analog tuners mean it's possible to record three channels at once and because there are two server boards this rises to six channels simultaneously, says Tsuyuki. With the tuner from the PC side of the device also added, a user can record seven channels at the same time although the focus of the device is continuous, simultaneous recording of six programs via the dual video servers.
Users can bring up a grid-like electronic programming guide screen that, instead of looking forward, contains the past few days of television. Then, at the press of a button, any program can be watched on demand--a function Sony likens to a time machine.