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Sony’s PC Offerings Focus On The Living Room

Sony Electronics introduced two Living Room PCs, one Blu-ray equipped and the other sporting a funky circular industrial design, and a revamped version of its UX Micro PC that features all solid state memory.

The Vaio TP1 Living Room PC is about the size and configuration of two, stacked portable CD players. The unit has a multiformat, dual-layer DVD burner, 300GB hard drive, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of DDR2 memory, Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi networking, and it is expected to ship in March with a $1,600 suggested retail. Since the TP1 is intended for living room use, it comes with a wireless keyboard and remote control.

The second Living Room system is the latest version of Sony Digital Living System line, the XL3. Unlike the TP1, it has a more conventional, stereo-component like chassis and several more video features. These include a Blu-ray Disc drive, built-in NTSC and ATSC TV tuners and a unidirectional CableCARD for viewing and recording HD programming eliminating the need for a separate set top box.

The XL3 is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.3GHz processor, 2GB of DDR2 memory, 500GB hard drive, Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi. It will ship in March with a $3,300 suggested retail.

Both Living Room systems will run on Microsoft Windows Vista, which will ship on Jan. 30.

The UX Premium Micro PC has the same configuration and specifications as the original model launched last year with the primary differentiator being the replacement of the hard disk drive with 32GB of flash memory. Sony said this gives the unit much faster boot speeds and less power consumption because there is no need to spin a hard drive, and that it makes for a more reliable device because there are fewer moving parts.

The UX Premium is Vista ready and carries a$2,500 suggested retail.

Sony also showed the Vaio WA1 wireless digital music streamer. It is a stand-alone device that connects into a Wi-Fi network allowing music to be heard anywhere in a home, the company said. It will cost about $350.