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July 23, 2014

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Sony VGX-TP1 media center PC line gets an update

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 25th 2008 10:28AM
Sony VGX-TP1D
Sony has launched 2 new two new versions of its circular home theater PC. Both the Sony VGX-TP1D and the VGX-TP1DQ sport 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo CPUs, 2GB of RAM, GeForce 8400M GT graphics, WiFi, and HDMI and VGA outputs. They also pack 4 USB ports, Firewire, media card readers, TV tuners, and a wireless keyboard.

But while the TP1D comes in white and packs a 320GB hard drive, the TP1DQ comes in black, has a 500GB hard drive, and a Blu-Ray burner (the cheaper model comes with a dual-layer DVD burner).

Both machines are due out in Japan in a few weeks, with the TP1D selling for the equivalent of about $1400, while the TP1DQ will set you back about $1850.

[via Engadget]

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Sit Down, Shut Up writers stand up and walk out

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 16th 2008 2:28PM

FOX logoAnd you thought that all that business with the WGA strike was over.

The writers for the new animated FOX show Sit Down, Shut Up have walked out, saying they were misled by Sony Pictures. They thought that under the agreement reached a few months ago they would be represented by the Writer's Guild of America but Sony actually has them covered under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Under their rules, writers don't get all those things they fought for, including new media (online, DVD, etc) money or even residuals.

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Sony PlayTV for the PS3 to launch in the UK this summer?

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 21st 2008 9:58AM
PlayTVEngadget is reporting that Sony plans to launch the PlayTV television tuner add-on for its Playstation3 gaming console on July 31st. But if you follow the link to the Amazon product page for the PlayTV, you'll find that the release date is listed as October 31st.

Either way, it seems pretty clear that UK PS3 users are going to be able to get their hands on the PlayTV before US customers. The devices is designed to work with the UK's digital television system and will not work with US cable, satellite, or over the air television yet. I'm pretty sure we'll see a US launch eventually, but not until afte the UK version is released.

Engadget says the PlayTV will set you back £59.99 or about $120 US whenever it becomes available in the UK.

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American Idols dropped from record labels

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 12th 2008 3:03PM
katharine mcpheeNot every American Idol winner or runner-up has the massive success of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. In just the last three weeks, Sony BMG has dropped three AI contestants/winners from its record label.

The latest to be dropped is season five runner-up Katharine McPhee. She released an album in 2006 that has only sold about 365,000 copies, according to MTV news.

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Sony unveils new home theater PC lineup at CES

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 7th 2008 8:02AM
Sony Vaio HTPCsSony is upgrading its lineup of VAIO-branded home theater PCs. The cylindrical VGX series now sports a 500GB hard drive, a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and 802.11b/g wireless.

The VGX comes in two varieties, both with high definition features including HDMI ports and a Blu-Ray drive. What sets the $3000 VGX-TP20E apart from the $1600 VGX-TP20E is an external dual CableCARD tuner.

If you're looking for a little more power, an integrated 22 inch monitor, you might want to check out the new VAIO LT29U Premium, which sports a 2.5 GHz Penryn processor and 1TB of storage for $3300. The LT29U also packs 4GB of RAM, a Blu-Ray drive, and an external CableCard tuner.

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Sony to drop LocationFree $30 license fees

by Brad Linder, posted Nov 10th 2007 2:01PM
Sony LocationFreeMaximum PC reports that Sony plans to kill its $30 license fee for LocationFree client software. Much like the popular Slingbox, Sony's LocationFree TV platform consists of a hardware base station that you plug into your TV or other A/V device, and software that runs on your Mac, PC, or Windows Mobile device.

When you buy a base station, Sony currently throws in one client license. But if you want to stream your TV signal over the internet to multiple devices, you'll have to shell out $30 for a license.

That's about the same price Sling Media charges for SlingPlayer Mobile. But SlingPlayer for Mac or PC is free, so if Sony plans to stay in the market, it only makes sense for the company to offer up similar service for about the same price (or cheaper).

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Sony sells ATI TV Wonder HDTV tuner

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 26th 2007 11:57AM
Sony Vaio ATI TV WonderIt's been a while since ATI first announced the ATI TV Wonder USB CableCard tuner for Windows Vista. But for the most part if you want a CableCard tuner in your PC, you've had to buy a preconfigured machine from someone like Niveus or Okoro.

Now Sony is selling the ATI TV Wonder as a standalone box for $299. That doesn't mean you can just plug this puppy into any old machine and get your high definition cable. You'll need a certified Windows Vista PC. But this does open up the possibility of adding CableCard support to your low-end Windows Home Premium/Ultimate machine instead of buying a $3000 media center.

[via Engadget]

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Two short-lived ABC shows coming to DVD

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 22nd 2007 3:28PM

Salvage 1When the Billy Bob Thornton movie The Astronaut Farmer came out, a lot of us were amazed how the plot sounded similar to Salvage 1, a TV movie and later short-lived series on ABC that starred Andy Griffith as the owner of a scrap and salvage company who builds a spaceship and goes to the moon. I don't think this show has been seen that much since the late 70s, but TVShowsOnDVD is hearing from a source that Sony is going to release the show (the pilot movie and all the episodes, including 4 never shown on ABC) some time in 2008.

But that's not the only DVD news that TV fans are going to be interested in...

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Sony minisodes (mini-episodes) get wider distribution

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 20th 2007 8:36AM
Crackle
Remember Sony's Minisode Network? Basically Sony is sitting on a huge library of television episodes that don't see much airtime anymore. So the company decided to slice up classic TV shows like Charlie's Angels, and T.J. Hooker and create 5 minute "minisodes."

The interesting thing is that the cliff notes versions of these shows work surprisingly well, if you don't care about things like plot, character development, and dialog.

The minisodes were originally available online at MySpace. Now Sony is making the mini-shows available on Crackle, AOL, and Joost, as well as MySpace. Sony is also bringing more shows out of the vault including Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and The Jeffersons.

[via The New York Times]

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Sony drops VAIO VGX-XL3 media center

by Brad Linder, posted Oct 1st 2007 3:00PM
Sony VAIO XL3Sony appears to be killing is VAIO VGX-XL3 media center after less than half a year on the market. First announced in January, the XL3 has only been available since April.

There's no word on why Sony is pulling the product, but we're guessing it probably has something to do with low sales. Still, the XL3 was the only Sony media center PC that packed integrated CableCard support.

We doubt Sony is pulling out of the home theater PC market altogether, but it is possible we could see the company focus its efforts more heavily on the PS3 than standalone PC boxes. While the Playstation3 bears a high price tag for a video game console, it's significantly cheaper than the $3300 XL3, and you might already have one in the living room. Sony plans to launch a TV tuner attachment for the PS3 soon, and it might be reasonable to expect a CableCard add-on at some point down the road, which could turn the PS3 into a full-fledged HD PVR with built-in Blu-Ray support.

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Is that a PVR in your pocket? Oh, it is

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 29th 2007 8:00AM
Sony NW-A910
Normally once I find out a cool new gadget will only be available in Japan I try to close my eyes because I know it will never be mine. But the Sony NW-A910 TV Walkman is just too cool.

The portable device includes a 1seg digital TV tuner for watching and recording Japanese television. It also packs up to 16GB of flash memory, which is enough space to store 16 hours of compressed video. Considering you only get a 2.4 inch display, the video should be crystal clear at that quality. You can also play back videos in most of your popular formats.

There's also an FM tuner in there in case you want to do anything as old fashioned as listening to the radio. The NW-A910 battery should survive about 6 hours of TV viewing or 8.5 hours of recording (with the display turned off). If you turn it into an overpriced MP3 player, you'll get about 36 hours of battery life.

The 16Gb model will set you back about 45,000 Yen (or $390) and will be available in November. There are also 8GB and 4GB varieties selling for 35,000 Yen and 30,000 Yen respectively.

[via New Launches]

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Sony dropping DVD, adding Blu-Ray in Japanese PVRs

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 14th 2007 11:00AM
Blu-Ray recordersSony's convinced that Blu-Ray is the future. So much so that the company is dropping support for DVDs in all future personal video recorders it releases in Japan. The comapny also announced 4 new Blu-Ray recorders for the Japanese market, capable of recording up to 16 hours of high definition MPEG-4 video per 50GB disc.

While the earliest TiVo models were able to store fewer hours of programming, 16 hours doesn't really cut it these days, so of course, each of Sony's new machines also has a hard drive, ranging in size from 250GB to 500GB.

While dropping DVD recording support might seem like a big move, there's less competition for high-def optical disc recorders than standard def right now. And if Sony is seen as an innovator early on, they could establish their position as a market leader when the rest of the world realizes DVDs are about as cool as VHS tapes. Unless of course, the rest of the world prefers HD-DVD.

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Sony announces LocationFree Home HD

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 5th 2007 5:36PM
Sony LocationFree HDAlthough we have yet to meet anyone that actually uses Sony's LocationFree media extenders (as opposed to say, a Slingbox), Sony is continuing to update the product.

The LocationFree Home HD is the first in the line to include support for HDTV with resolutions up to 1080i. The LF-W1HD achieves high def video transmission over 802.11a/b/g wireless networks by using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression technology.

You'll be able to pick up a transmitter and receiver in Japan this December for about ¥50,000 or a bit over $400 US. No word on if and when we'll be seeing this puppy stateside. Or if anyone will notice.

[via Engadget]

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Sony plans TV and movie download service

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 4th 2007 3:06PM
Sony BraviaWhile Apple is the undisputed king of music downloads, no company dominates the video download space yet. Well, it looks like Sony wants to make a bid for the lead position. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company that was once synonymous with portable music players (remember the Walkman?) before Apple came along wants to compete with iTunes in the video download space.

Sony may have the goods to pull this off. Part of the reason Apple has been so successful is because the company has both hardware and software: iTunes an the iPod. Sony's already got the hardware for video: the Playstation3, the Playstation Portable, and Bravia television sets. And Sony's got Sony Pictures content.

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Sony Vaio LT all in one PC packs Blu-Ray and CableCard

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 27th 2007 4:29PM
Sony Vaio LTThe Vaio LT HD is hardly the first all-in-one PC we've seen from Sony. But it does pack a few things we haven't seen before from one of these PC-in-a-monitor style computers:
  • A Blu-ray burner
  • ATI Digital Cable Tuner (for CableCard)
The Vaio LT also includes an impressive set of specs, inclduign a 22-inch 1680x1050 pixel wediscreen display, a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, 802.11n, and an ATSC/NTSC TV tuner.

There's also a standard definition version that loses the Blu-Ray and CableCard features. Both models should be available in October, with the HD version weighing in at about $2900 and the SD model running about $1900.

[via CNet]

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