The case for the media center PC in the living room just got a bit stronger with the introduction of a new range of home entertainment systems from Sony – the XL200-Series.
Two models are available, with both described as "HD-capable", but only one actually features a Blu-ray drive. The models available are the VGX-XL201 and the VGX-XL202. Both are powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processor and NVIDIA PureVideo technology, with hardware acceleration optimised for HD decoding on the NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GTL graphics cards in both systems. This, claims Sony, means "outstandingly smooth SD and HD video playback quality." The VGX-XL202 goes one step further, featuring the Blu-ray drive.
Obviously, none of this HD stuff would be much use without HDMI – which it here for one cable connection to your HD-ready set. Both machines also feature a hybrid tuner for digital and analogue TV, Intel ViiV 1.5, which, amongst other things, makes it easy to set up a home multimedia network with other ViiV devices for streaming music and video, 500GB of hard disk space, wireless keyboard with integrated touchpad and a remote control. And despite so much going on, it’s virtually silent, with sub-25dB operation.
The two things we don’t know as yet are price and availability date. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.