Sony unveils PCs equipped for TV video recording

Sony claims the high-end unit, the PCV-RX490TV, "is the industry's first PC with integrated video recording," according to Rich Black, director of desktop PC marketing for Sony Electronics' Information Technology Product Division.

Sony offers a $US100 rebate on the $US2599 unit (monitor not included). The unit will first be available to users in North America.

It's powered by a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 and comes with 128MB of RDRAM (expandable to 512MB), an 80GB hard drive, both a 56Kbps modem and 10/100 Ethernet support, Windows Millennium Edition, and Microsoft Word 2002. A Pioneer DVD-RW drive, which supports DVD-R, CD-Rewritable, and CD-Recordable, is bundled.

The lower-level PCV-RX480DS, priced at $US2100, has the same basic hardware specifications as the 490TV but lacks a few of the high-end unit's tools and supports only DVD-ROM and CD-RW. If you want to spend less and you need slightly less power, try the $1700 PCV-RX470DS, with a 1.5GHz Pentium 4 and a 60GB hard drive. Both offer a $US100 mail-in rebate.

Sony is introducing two other units into its VAIO PC line, both with Advanced Micro Devices processors. The higher-end unit, the $US1100 PCV-RX450, uses a 1GHz Athlon CPU and comes with both DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives; a $US100 rebate is available for it as well. At the entry level, Sony offers the $US850 Duron 900-based PCV-J200, which also bundles a combination DVD/CD-RW drive. Both units come with 128MB of SDRAM, a 40GB hard drive, a 56Kbps modem, and 10/100 Ethernet support.

Separately, a 15-inch Sony LCD monitor sells for $US999 (it also has a $1US00 rebate offer), and a 17-inch CRT costs about $US300.

Diverse Video Tools

Sony has been putting a multimedia spin on its VAIO line of late. The VAIO PCV-J100 offers many of the video-management functions of Apple's iMac, and the Digital Studio desktops introduced in January feature both CD-RW and DVD drives and programs to lure multimedia fans.

The PCV-RX490TV provides a complete solution for those who want a PC with video editing and recording capability.

"For consumers who want the latest in entertainment and technology devices, the VAIO Digital Studio PC with Giga Pocket Personal Video Recorder allows them to do two things at once--watch TV on the PC and record TV programs onto a hard drive," Black adds.

It provides a Sony TV tuner card with hardware MPEG encoding that lets you plug in your TV cable feed. Analog video ports are conveniently located on the front of the unit so that you can also input video from your VCR or a standard video camera.

For digital input, you have two I.Link (IEEE 1394) ports, one in back and the other on the front of the unit. You'll also be able to burn your home videos onto a DVD that you can play in your living room, thanks to the bundled Pioneer DVD-RW drive (which also handles DVD-R, CD-RW, and CD-R). A powerful 1.7GHz Pentium 4 processor drives the unit, and a roomy 80GB hard drive provides plenty of room to store your video.

Although you can't edit out commercials, the bundled Giga software gives you much the same functionality as a TiVo or Replay personal recorder. You can program the unit to tape TV shows directly, or you can make selections from TV listings on a designated Web site tailored for your area. You can use Sony's DVgate or the included Adobe Premiere LE to edit video.

The next step down, the PCV-RX480DS model, has the same basic hardware specifications as the 490TV but lacks the TV tuner card and the Giga video recording software.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?