Sony shows multi-channel Tivo-like machine

Sony will begin selling in Japan in November a combination personal computer and video server that can record up to seven channels of television simultaneously, it said Tuesday at the Ceatec 2004 exhibition in Japan.

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 its a multimedia personal computer, with two 250G-byte hard disk 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 250G-byte hard disk drive. The unit runs on the Micro iTron operating system and the interface with the rest of the PC via an Ethernet port, said Junji Tsuyuki, a senior product producer at Sony's IT and mobile solutions network department, in an interview at Ceatec 2004.

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, said 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.

That works out well for the company's target audience of consumers because most areas of Japan are served by two public television channels and between three and five commercial TV networks.

The 250G-bytes hard-disk drive space is enough to store five and a half days worth of programming from each of the three channels assuming continuous recording, or one week's worth of programs assuming 19 hours per day of TV per channel, Tsuyuki said. What's more, users can specify 400G-byte drives for the video server units when they order the Vaio X. This would raise its total storage capacity from 1T byte to 1.3T bytes.

Users can bring up a grid-like EPG (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.

"In America, TiVo is very famous but we don't have it in Japan," said Tsuyuki. "This is a kind of TiVo for Japanese users."

Sony has licensed technology from TiVo Inc. and also holds a stake in the Alviso, California, company but none of the company's technology was incorporated into the Vaio X, said Tsuyuki.

The Vaio VGX-X90P goes on sale in Japan on Nov. 20 and will cost around YEN 520,000 (AUD$6,470).

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?