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Thursday, 17 May, 2001, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Sony puts TV in computer
Sony's new computer is the first to be sold in the US combining TV, Personal Video Recording and DVD recording
A visitor to Sony's Tokyo showroom
Sony has unveiled a new personal computer with an integrated television tuner and personal video recording system.

Entering the potentially lucrative market of personal video recording, Sony's computer can digitally store up to 100 hours of programming.

With the PCV-RX490TV Vaio computer, Sony claims it is the only company offering US consumers a computer with integrated TV and personal video recording features.

Personal video recording (PVR) allows users to pause live TV or custom-record programming onto a hard drive.

PVR systems are like normal video recorders only much better. Instead of cassettes, they record digitally on the hard disc.

The Sony computer can store up to 100 hours of programmes and there's no need to fast-forward or rewind.

Integrated TV

The ability to watch TV on a PC is not a new one, but is limited to those who are willing to buy separate TV tuner cards and then install them in their computers.

The VHS format has been around since the 1970s. How much longer can it hold out against DVD and personal video recording systems?
Sony's new computer may be the final blow for the trusty VHS format
In Japan, TV tuner cards have been more or less standard in desktop computers for the last two years.

"I call this TiVo on steroids," said Mark Hanson, Sony's vice president of PC products. "We're targeting tech-savvy consumers." Sony already makes a PVR set-top box for TiVo.

TiVo is a set top box which plugs into the television, and allows up to 40 hours of digital recording. however, its cost is prohibitive - 400 for the box itself, and a 10 per month subscription fee.

As a result, PVR technology has been slow to catch on in the UK.

Recordable DVDs

The computer comes with a recordable DVD drive; a separate 80-gigabyte hard drive for video storage; and a remote control.

The PCV-RX490TV is expected to go on sale in US outlets in June with a price tag of $2,599 (1,816).

See also:

16 May 01 | New Media
Console wars at E3 show
09 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
What happened to Tivo?
12 Mar 01 | Business
IBM wins Playstation 3 contract
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