New York - Sony's introduction yesterday of the Vaio MX pushed the entertainment aspect of its computer line to a new level by building in more audio/video capability.
The MX, suggested retail price $2,799 without monitor, is similar to the PCV-RX490TV PC introduced last May, which was Sony's first PC to feature a personal video recorder and DVD-RW drive. The MX increases the A/V functionality with the addition of a MiniDisc player, FM receiver, S video input and outputs, TV tuner and when connected to a Dolby Pro Logic receiver can act as part of a home theater system. All of the home entertainment features in the PC can be controlled with a remote control. The PC's look breaks away from previous Vaio models by dropping the series' grayish-purple color scheme in favor of a pure white metallic look
'This is something everyone's been waiting for,' said Mark Hanson, Sony's vice president and general manager for the Vaio.
The MX starts shipping on Oct. 27. As with the earlier model Sony is not charging a monthly fee for the PVR feature, but the price includes free access to the company's Internet Entertainment Program Guide.
Another indicator that Sony considers the MX more of an entertainment device is the pair of 40-watt multimedia speakers that are bundled with the system. The speakers are much larger than conventional PC speakers with a built in amplifier and a woofer and tweeter so it can act as a stand alone music system.
In addition to the home-entertainment functions, the MX is a high-end PC powered by an Intel Pentium 4 1.7GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, nVIDIA GeForce2 MX graphics card, Memory Stick slot, USB and iLink ports, MPEG2 encoder/decoder, Ethernet card and a host of digital imaging, video and music editing software.