And this week Sony rolled out what so far is the lowest cost PC designed specifically for building potential movie masterpieces.
Available immediately, the VAIO PCV-J100 retails for $US899, without monitor and speakers. Matching Sony monitors sell for between $US370 and $US430 for 17-inch models; $US630 for 19-inch models. And you can figure on spending $US75 to $US150 for quality speakers.
Built around an Intel Celeron-600 processor, the PCV-J100 includes 64MB of RAM (expandable to 256MB), a 15GB UltraDMA/66 hard drive, and an 8X/4X/32X CD-RW drive. Also included are a 56-kbps modem and a 10/100 Ethernet network card.
The VAIO includes two iLink (IEEE-1394) high-speed serial ports for direct connection to digital video cameras, as well as a standard contingent of parallel, serial, and Universal Serial Bus ports. Inside the box, there's a single free PCI slot for future expansion.
On the software side, the PCV-J100 includes Windows 98 Second Edition and a selection of multimedia software that includes Adaptec Easy CD Creator, Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Apple QuickTime, and RealNetworks RealProducer.
For making movies, the VAIO includes Sony's MovieShaker software, which downloads video from digital camcorders and includes five prebuilt themes ranging from "Romantic" to "Exciting." After you choose a theme, MovieShaker automatically creates a finished film, complete with transitions, effects, and music. If you don't want to use the themes, MovieShaker allows full manual control over scene arrangements, titles, transitions, and music.
When you're finished with the movie, you can share your finished masterpiece in several formats, ranging from a compressed email attachment to a CD-ROM. And you can write the finished movie back to your digital video camcorder without any loss in quality from the original.
The VAIO PCV-J100 also includes Sony's DVgate Motion, an alternative for capturing and editing digital video, and DVgate Still, for capturing still images from video. And rounding out the software selection is Sony PictureGear for managing both video and sound files.