Sony's media server


It has been a very busy month for Sony with the unveiling of its PSP handheld games console, its iPod rival the Vaio Pocket VGF-AP1 and its music download service Connect.

However it is important not to overlook its innovation in the digital home arena. It has been parading a home server with a huge storage capacity of terabyte that can deliver up to seven high definition video streams simultaneously. Of course at this stage it is only a prototype.

To see how far Sony is progressing in video streaming one needs to take a peek at its new top-end desktop PC that doubles as a home entertainment server. When used with Sony’s £300 Network Media Receiver device, the Vaio RA104 can wirelessly stream music, video and still images from its hard drive to a television or home entertainment centre using the 802.11g format.

The PC features an analogue TV tuner (the company hopes a digital one will available later in the year) complete with Sony’s hard disk video recording Giga Pocket software. The company has also incorporated an electronic programming guide for the PC. This web-based software (TV TV) allows users to instruct the recorder to archive programmes remotely via a PC or an internet-enabled phone.

Specs include a 3.6GHz Prescott-core Pentium 4 with 1GB of 400MHz DDR RAM, 250GB of hard disk storage and PCI Express graphics courtesy of ATI’s Radeon PCI Express X16 GPU.

The RA104 goes on sale in June and is likely to retails for in the region of £1600.

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