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Sony Blu-ray Media Center

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the insane-hardware dept.

122

An anonymous reader writes "Sony announced its Blu-ray equipped VGX-XL202 media center box a while back and a full review has finally appeared. This looks like it could be the ultimate media center PC with a Blu-ray re-writer, HDMI and HDCP enabled NVidia graphics, integrated wireless, gigabit ethernet, digital TV tuner and twin hard disks. Unfortunately it doesn't come cheap."

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I wonder if... (3, Funny)

skrew (111096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483627)

the inclusion of blu-ray in this PC (despite its limited production quantity) affects or has effected PS3 production, and if so, what are sony's priorities?

Re:I wonder if... (0, Redundant)

ccarson (562931) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483929)

That's a bad ass box.

Re:I wonder if... (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485351)

"It is quite high and very deep too, but that's something that the more hardcore AV enthusiast will rather like - it looks like they're getting a lot for their money."
Who the hell wants to pay a lot of money for something that's unnecessarily large, wasting people's space? This reviewer is an idiot if he thinks that enthusiasts want their brand new toys to be big and clunky. The last time I checked, people enjoy things that are slim and sleek.

"but at this price its only audience will be hardcore enthusiasts."
Who's enthusiastic about this?

Re:I wonder if... (1)

Vaakku (698260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485413)

Bigger profits from mediacenter ? =)

Sales Volume Helps (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485627)

it's OK, they're only going to sell a total of twelve of these media centers worldwide. That shouldn't affect PS3 production too significantly; but now the European PS3 launch is pushed back to 2008...

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony wins. (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483655)

Okay, I still say the Wii is going to be THE runaway gaming machine, but as far as a Blu-Ray player goes, Sony wins if this is included in the PS3.

Reason? Porn.

No, I'm not joking. A lot of guys in the porn industry are switching to online distribution, which, while I'm sure a lot of guys won't mind jerking off at the desktop, will likely want to take it to the TV. A Blu-Ray re-writer/burner makes that possible.

Even if the PS3 doesn't include this particular kit, as long as it's easier to write to Blu-Ray than HD-DVD, Sony takes the advantage.

But only if they get the fuckin' console out by Christmas, dammit. We're impatient.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483907)

No doubt, a lesson learned from Betamax

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483977)

Actually the porn industry favors HD-DVD. Just like VHS being inferior to BETA but cheaper, the porn industry has picked HD-DVD over Blue Ray, quality is a little bit less but it's a lot cheaper.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484111)

With porn you REALLY don't want HD anyways, even a crisp Hi-8 source can be a little too revealing. Seeing the pimples and other blemishes on the actors really takes away from the experience.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484967)

Andrew Blake [andrewblake.com] make HD stuff for some time already. And it is definitely worth its every bit.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483995)

Xbox Media Center makes for a better 'fap-o-matic' and its FAR cheaper.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

Lissajous (989738) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484179)

So tell me again why exactly a Blu-Ray burner will let me get pr0n to my TV in a way that...oh, I don't know, a DVD burner won't? Or MythTV box. Or a modded XBox. Or Windows MCE / Xbox360 combination. Or any video card with TV Out.
Blank Hi-Def media is going to be insanely expensive for the forseeable future - hell, even DL-DVD is way over-priced, and the extra resolution on your pr0n isn't going to warrant you wasting 50x the download in order to get it (compare 25 gigs to a 700 meg divx).

If anything the pr0n industry (pr any other IP-based industry, for that matter) switching to online distro is going to make the PS3 with it's DRM-infested media drive and accompanying pricepoint less attractive, not more.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484701)

If its MCE/Xbox360 you better hope to god its in WMA format. . . Last time I tried that combo none of my divx/xvid/ogm/mkv files played. Hell, even the DRM'd demo of an h264 wma that came with my laptop wouldn't even play. On top of that I spent about 3 hours looking for a way to add more playable codecs to MCE or Xbox360 brought me to the conclusion that it is not possible.

DRM and Proprietary formats for the win!

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

Lissajous (989738) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485073)

Heh - yeah...I kinda mentioned MCE/X360 as the lowest of the low (well....apart from the Sony combo, of course ;-) ). You might find a certain amount of assistance on xbox-scene.com> [xbox-scene.com] if you still want to do some more flexible media streaming to the 360. FWICR there's some on-the-fly format conversion trickery you can do with the streaming. Don't use it myself as I (a) don't have MCE, and (b) have a perfectly adequate XBMC set-up for getting my pr0n on the big-screen ;-) .

I would go in search of a more detailed link, but sadly the site is blocked by our company firewall. Oh, and please spare us all the "This is your boss - why are you slashdotting on company time" comedy posts.

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (2, Funny)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16486407)

This is your boss, please come to my office to receive your bonus for helping me with my pr0n/X360/MCE troubles.

This sillyness is brought to you by: Company policy and that creepy stocky fellow in HR, he's coming for your children!

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

metamorphiq (1009563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484419)

But only if they get the fuckin' console out by Christmas, dammit. We're impatient.

This is another one of those mind-warping contexts -- after the porn post, I read this as "We're impotent".

Re:And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Sony win (1)

BSonline (989394) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484835)

I'm sure people are going to put their tiny 1 gig porn files on an expensive blu ray to transfer them. Actually, there is this other technology called Ethernet... and if you don't want a computer on your TV, there are still many options. For the price of 2-4 blu ray discs you could have a wireless media extender, or for the price of a few more discs, and Xbox 360, or for still a few more discs, a PS3. All better options than "Burn Pr0n", Carry to other really expensive player, watch".

Especially when all the smart kids are going HD-DVD. But thanks Sony for using 50's marketing (bundle and jam) to get more Blu-Ray sells!

No thanks (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483667)

Blu-ray (Sony propietary, DRMd), HDMI (DRMd), Windows (DRM)?<br>
<br>
No thanks. I'll stick with my Mythbox, thank you very much

Re:No thanks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483693)

Amen to that!

Re:No thanks (4, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483755)

Not to mention, this (£1531.06=US$2,858.79) vs MythTV box (adaptable to your budget, a quite decent box can be built for a few hundred.) Turns out, my wallet hates the proprietary DRM'd stuff as much as I do.

Re:No thanks (1)

suntac (252438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484697)

Build it yourself is still a good and cheap solution ;-)

Re:No thanks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16485585)

Even cheaper if like me you're upgrading the crap out of your main box anyway, and use the leftovers to build a Mythbox. I didn't need to buy anything specifically for the mythbox except a cheapo DVD drive and a TV capable video card.

Re:No thanks (1)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484157)

I would use Mythtv if it supported half of the devices at full quality that I need to use. Windows MCE is leaps and bounds ahead for now...

and yes, i've used both

Re:No thanks (1)

AzsxQuii (944798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484717)

Dont forget HDCP(HIGH DEFINITION CONTENT PROTECTION)(DRM'd) I refuse to buy these bad design implementations on principal. But its only a matter of time before someone come up with a filter for HDCP, so until then....

Re:No thanks (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485589)

Do you, by any chance, use DVDs? Because by your reasoning, they're just as proprietary as Blu-Ray.

Re:No thanks (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485723)

Yes, DVDs are proprietary. However, unlike Blu-ray, it is a fully established standard, has no single corporation's intrests behind it, and is easily broken down into a more usable format, without being a constantly moving target

Note: DMCA does not apply to Fair Use

Re:No thanks (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485989)

What does "fully established standard" mean? Both DVD and Blu-Ray have official specifications that you can license on a non-discriminatory basis. DVD's standard is older than Blu-Ray's, but Blu-Ray is new technology, so that's trivially true. Neither Blu-Ray nor DVD have a single corporation behind them, both are backed by a consortium (the DVD Forum, and the Blu-Ray Disc Association, respectively). Both organizations have open membership with lots of members (230 for the DVD forum, and 170 for the BDA). Indeed, 7 of the 10 founders of the Blu-Ray Disc Association (Hitachi, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Philips, Sony, and Thomson), were founders of the DVD forum as well.

Yes, BD is a Sony-designed technology. In that sense, they've got a vested interest in the format. But then again, DVD is a Toshiba-design technology, and they had a vested interest in that format. So what's the big difference?

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16485597)

Proprietary is not just a word for a format you don't like. Blu-ray is developed (and owned) by a consortium of companies, spearheaded by Sony. While Sony is definitely the primary driver of the format, that doesn't make it proprietary.

Die in a fire (2, Insightful)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483671)

Blue ray can die in a fire. It's expensive because it's proprietary crap. Wake me up when a technology comes out that is allowed by the U.S. government to have some competition with it instead of creating an "intellectual property" monopoly. Maybe after it's patent expires? Maybe in five years it will actually be an affordable alternative?

Re:Die in a fire (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484241)

Blue ray can die in a fire. It's expensive because it's proprietary crap.

Whoa there, Silver! Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. At least not yet.

We all have a lot of reasons to be displeased with Sony, and the debacle that is the PS3 probably isn't helping anything. But that doesn't mean that Bluray is a bad technology. In fact, it's superior to HD-DVD in many ways; not the least of which is greater storage capacity over HD-DVD. It also has greater capabilities for interactivity and better support for 24FPS content. The only difference at the moment is that HD-DVD has a slight edge in media cost. An edge which could disappear as production ramps up.

Unlike the BetaMax issue (where VHS was superior in recording time), BluRay has a real shot at the market. One which I would *hope* Sony doesn't screw up. Unfortunately, their insistence on using BluRay in the PS3, combined with their gross mismanagement of the rest of their markets has me less than confident in their ability to pull it off. :(

Advantages for HD-DVD (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484787)

The only difference at the moment is that HD-DVD has a slight edge in media cost. An edge which could disappear as production ramps up.

Actually, you're forgetting that the players are much less expensive for HD-DVD (Toshiba HD-DVD: under $500, Samsung Blu-Ray: $720, Sony Blu-Ray: $999)... that doesn't take into account the PS3 yet, but at best it will be the same price as the Toshiba HD-DVD player, and will have limited availability for a while. Also, production costs for pressing the discs are much cheaper for HD-DVD, because Blu-Ray involves replacing a lot more equipment than HD-DVD.

Oh, and the name helps HD-DVD, too... people think of it as THE HD version of the DVD, but they don't really know what Blu-Ray is.

Re:Advantages for HD-DVD (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485015)

Toshiba HD-DVD: under $500, Samsung Blu-Ray: $720, Sony Blu-Ray: $999

M$ Xbox HD-DVD - IIRC - $200. Enjoy.

Re:Advantages for HD-DVD (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485219)

M$ Xbox HD-DVD - IIRC - $200. Enjoy.

That would be a good point, but you still need the $300 - $400 XBox 360 to be able to use it (as far as I know it won't work with a PC, but I could be wrong?), and is that drive available yet? I'd say it's at best the same cost/benefit as a PS3, except that the drive is a bulky add-on to the XBox, and it can't be used for game content.

Maybe I shouldn't be disagreeing with someone who was supporting my original point, but I'm just trying to look at things realistically here. Oh wait, this is Slashdot. Never mind.

Re:Advantages for HD-DVD (1)

blargster (239820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485471)

It was revealed earlier this week that the Xbox 360 HD DVD external drive will work via USB on any PC. Since Toshiba really makes these drives, it is only a matter of time before drivers will show up.

http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/17/xbox-hd-dvd-dri ve-to-connect-to-pcs-via-usb/ [engadget.com]

Re:Die in a fire (4, Informative)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485633)

Blu-Ray isn't any more proprietary than DVD. Both are patented, and both require a license to implement.

PS3 vs. Vaio (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483677)

I can't imagine many people would run out to buy one of these when they could buy a fully loaded PS3 and a separate media center PC for less than half the price, then have plenty leftover for games they could never play on the Vaio. I realize that a Vaio commands a premium, but it appears like they are charging almost $2000 extra just for the blu-ray ...

Re:PS3 vs. Vaio (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485883)

You can buy the Sony branded BluRay re-writer that is in this machine all by itself for $499. I'm guessing they're charging $2000 extra because they have some idea they can get people to pay that.

wtf!? (1)

netdur (816698) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483685)

couldn't they make better design, this machine remind me of p2 computers

VGX-XL202 (4, Funny)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483699)

VGX-XL202... what a memorable name! What a clearly distinctive product. I mean, it's got 2 Xes!

Re:VGX-XL202 (2, Funny)

stretchsje (999497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484065)

Sony thought a second X sounded better than DRM. It was originally going to be the VGDRM-XL202, for "Very Good Digital Rights Management, model XL202."

The most important part of the article... (5, Insightful)

Dster76 (877693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483701)

...and the most depressing:

I actually used the Sony to finally answer a question that I've been wondering about for a while. What happens what you try and watch an HDCP encrypted movie on a display without HDCP? I hooked up a bog standard 17in, 1,280 x 1,024 display and tried to play a movie. The supplied InterVideo WinDVD BD software started to play and then stopped - and that was that. So there you go - the disc won't even play.

Re:The most important part of the article... (2, Informative)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484255)

It's supposed to downgrade to a standard-definition resolution when some part of the chain fails the HDCP handshaking operation.

Re:The most important part of the article... (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484675)

It's supposed to downgrade to a standard-definition resolution when some part of the chain fails the HDCP handshaking operation.
Hmmmmm. So there's more to go wrong basically (as if there wasn't already with technology), so discs can stop working for no apparent reason, or people will have downgraded video without even realising it and will be getting ripped off?

Image Constraint Token... (3, Informative)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484893)

It's supposed to downgrade to a standard-definition resolution when some part of the chain fails the HDCP handshaking operation.

Actually, it's supposed to be capable of supporting that, but supposedly none of the studios are implementing that on current discs... yet.

I'd say this is just a case of the media PC being a pile of crap. "Watch our awesome Blue-Rayz movies on this awesome computer... " *hiccup* *crash* *smoke*

Re:The most important part of the article... (2, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484257)

Good thing they warned us - now we have proof that pirating will get you a more reliable product.

Strange type of review (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483703)

It seemed to me that this reviewer wanted to give this product a "good" review in face of a lot of evidence against.

- The extremely high price, yes, we can set that to one side for "new" technology.
- Then you have the "No output at all without HDCP" problem (although early adopters should know this already)
- Then you have the software problems related to Blu-Ray which stop you using the built-in software that plays EVERYTHING else (and only Vista will support Blu-Ray properly, it seems).
- Then the right-handed-only keyboard/mouse combo (instantly denying comfortable use by a fair percentage of the population)
- Then the spurious errors and crashes
- The Keyboard's high power usage (4AA's)
- No SCART/DVI-I ports *at all*
- Single TV Tuner preventing simultaneous viewing/recording
- Frame-rate issues (Possibly the most worrying problem)
- Possible minor quality issues on the playback

But yet the summary of the article is almost 100% positive about it.

Re:Strange type of review (2, Insightful)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483959)

It says it may be "the ultimate media center" but only has one tuner. This is a massive pitfall. A Tivo-like system that has only one tuner isn't Tivo-like at all. It is a VCR that records to a hard drive. The difference between 1 tuner and 2 is immense.
I was very surprised to discover that there's only a single TV Tuner supplied. It's DVB-T and unlike the Acer Idea 500 Media Center I recently reviewed, it managed to find a good number of channels first time off but it means you can only watch the channel being recorded - very frustrating. That said, anyone considering a machine like this with the high price premium of the Blu-ray drive probably has a Sky HD box at home.

Re:Strange type of review (1)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484617)

- Then you have the "No output at all without HDCP" problem (although early adopters should know this already)

That does raise some eyebrows - but to be fair you need to detail the rest. There are Component, FireWire (!) and S-Video out ports, and you could adapt the HDMI to DVI cheaply and easily. The supplied BD-ROM had HDMI copyprotection on it, but how many of these are really out there yet?

The fact that the hardware can throw a snit about this is bothersome. Sony has 'promised' (whatever that means) not to enable HDMI copyprotection on their BD movies. (Although my Toshiba standalone PVR will also throw a fit if I try to rip a DVD to its internal harddrive.)

End of the day, as long as you don't buy HDMI-protected titles, there's no issue here. Whether or not this will be a choice in the future is an open question, but I'm sure DVDs will continue to play no matter what.

Re:Strange type of review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16485695)

There's other issues too:

- crappy analog tv tuner? I DON'T want that crap (looks about as good as VHS) - where's DVB support? (right, none!) Oh, no cablecard support either...
- what if Beta-Ray goes like every other sony format? Right. No HD-DVD support obviously...
- DRM-everywhere(TM) (from the Blu-Ray media, to the WMV recordings, to the video outputs)

For that much money, you can buy a Core 2 Duo motherboard/CPU, add lots of RAM, a couple DVB cards (or a couple Hauppauge PVR150/250/500 cards if you really must use crappy analog TV tuners), a OTA HDTV tuner or 2, a DVD writer (and HD DVD or Blu-Ray drive if one truly wants to waste money on that right now), a good video card, a Coolermaster Stacker case filled with a dozen 500GB HDs in RAID5, and it would be a FAR nicer machine and still less!

8 out of 10? Sounds more like 2 out of 10 to me. (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483713)

You've got to be kidding me. Keep in mind while you read this that this device costs around $3,360 USD.

If this thing gets an overall 8 out of 10, I can't help but wonder how a device can possibly get dinged for less. I mean, really, from TFA:

What happens what you try and watch an HDCP encrypted movie on a display without HDCP? I hooked up a bog standard 17in, 1,280 x 1,024 display and tried to play a movie. The supplied InterVideo WinDVD BD software started to play and then stopped - and that was that. So there you go - the disc won't even play.

So your fancy expensive toy won't let you watch your movies.

Storage comes courtesy of a couple of 250GB 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard disks

All that money, and it stores less than one of my desktop's hard drives

Being a Sony, there's plenty of preinstalled software on the system, highlights of which are Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements, along with Norton Internet Security. There's also a trial version of Microsoft Office.

Ooh, around $150 worth of software, which they've undoubtedly OEMed for probably less than $20.

I was very surprised to discover that there's only a single TV Tuner supplied.

So you can only record one television station at a time. I hope you don't have two favorite shows that happen to come on back-to-back, or you're just SOL. Even my five-year-old TiVo has dual tuners, and it's not you can't get a dual-tuner component [amazon.com] for less than $70.

To play a Blu-ray disc you need to use dedicated software that can handle the HDCP part of the AACS encryption standard and Media Center can't do this at present.

This extra bit of complication brought to you courtesy of the letters D, R, and M.

I contacted Microsoft about this and it confirmed to me that there will be a plug-in for Vista that at the very least will let you launch an external application, such as InterVideo when you try to play a Blu-ray disc from inside MCE... For now though, to play the movie from the sofa you'll have to pick up the keyboard—although at least it's wireless.

Oh, so to play our movies, we'll have to actually upgrade to Vista when it comes out. Good, because it's not like you've already spent enough to buy the box itself, right? And I'm sorry, I'm not going to use a frickin' keyboard to play a frickin' movie from my frickin' DVD player on my frickin' tv.

The software supplied is InterVideo WinDVD BD for VAIO, a rather convoluted title. On first attempt we got a region code error message. I then went into the software and selected Region B.

Yet more hoops to jump through to play a movie, again brought to you by the letters D, R, and M.

There was again a step up but the overall experience was marred by grain and noise. In terms of immediacy the quality was not as impressive as the lush samples you see demoed in stores with super detailed close ups of flowers. There was also a hint of the system struggling with the frame rate at times.

Oh, now we see why it earned an 8 out of 10! Oh, wait, those are bad things, aren't they? Well, all of that is worth it if we get image quality that knocks our socks off, so let's get to the bottom line:

It was as clear as day to me, but actually not everyone in the office could make this out or was impressed by it. In fact many were as under-whelmed as I was when I first saw Blu-ray at the launch of the Samsung player last month.
I then hooked up a Dell 2407 24in screen that let me see the full 1080 lines of resolution. There was again a step up but the overall experience was marred by grain and noise. In terms of immediacy the quality was not as impressive as the lush samples you see demoed in stores with super detailed close ups of flowers. There was also a hint of the system struggling with the frame rate at times. While overall it wasn't perfect, there was a discernable step up from DVD, so that's something.

So the final question: How much will this box actually cost? The answer is 1,799 GBP, which is around US$3,360. I'm sorry, but if I pay $3,360 for a media player, it had damned well work out of the box, play what I want when I want and blow my socks off. It had better have a feature set that far surpasses what I can get with around $500 dollars of investment in two or three other components.

If you like burning money on pointless crap, I highly recommend this box. If you like actually being able to watch your movies in a relatively painless manner, I think I'd pass it up and spend that $3,360 on something much more worthwhile.

I think the irony is that the site is named "TrustedReviews." I'm glad that the review itself was, as far as I can tell, relatively honest, but these scores grossly overstate what the actual rating should be:

Overall: 8 out of 10
Performance: 9 out of 10
Value: 7 out of 10
Design and features: 9 out of 10

Again, I ask, how the hell bad does a product have to be before it earns something like a (gasp!) 3 or 4 out of ten? Does it have to have metal spikes that actually shoot out of it that cause the buyer to risk serious injury or death?

Re:8 out of 10? Sounds more like 2 out of 10 to me (2, Informative)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483811)

Agree with all you are saying, just thought I'd point out:

Even my five-year-old TiVo has dual tuners, and it's not you can't get a dual-tuner component for less than $70.

You linked to the 150 model which also only has one tuner. Here [amazon.com] is the 500 model which has dual tuner support.

and your link (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484181)

Just thouth I'd point out:
your link is not to a tivo, and is not to something available 5 years ago
"Date first available at Amazon.com: October 28, 2004 "

Re:8 out of 10? Sounds more like 2 out of 10 to me (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483845)

While your right i just wanted to correct one thing

"The software supplied is InterVideo WinDVD BD for VAIO, a rather convoluted title. On first attempt we got a region code error message. I then went into the software and selected Region B.
Yet more hoops to jump through to play a movie, again brought to you by the letters D, R, and M."

This isn't a DRM issue this is a method of "price discrimination" which all companies do.. it is annoying as crap - but alteast the player lets you change the region.. but i am sure that will be fixed

Region coding is a form of DRM (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483935)

It is price discrimination, but it's also a form of DRM, at least as I define it: Anything that keeps you from doing what is reasonably technically possible due to legal or administrative reasons.

There is no technical reason why I shouldn't be able to watch a movie I buy in Japan on a player I buy in the U.S. In fact, they had to add stuff to the discs and players to ensure that I can't. That's stupid, it's a form of "managing" my digital rights, and it's why I don't feel the least amount of guilt about bypassing it and ripping DVDs I legally own to my hard drive so that I can exercise my fair use rights to actually watch them.

Re:8 out of 10? Sounds more like 2 out of 10 to me (3, Funny)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483915)

Less? You have a single harddrive over 500GB? .... *checks internet* shit they are selling 750GB drives now.. when did this happen.. I'm so behind the curve... :(

750 GB hard drives (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484001)

Yup. And while they're still pretty expensive, (around $360 [amazon.com] ), they're well worth it. The really sucky thing is that 2 250GB hard drives will set you back around $220 [amazon.com] . For $3,360, they weren't even willing to spend the extra $140 (probably less as a vendor) to bump you up to 750GB.

How many ways are there to say it: Sony sucks, and this device is crap.

Re:750 GB hard drives (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484803)

Its possible that the dual drives was needed for performance reasons as they could have put a single 500GB drive in their cheaper than dual 250GB drives. Either way yep completly silly, with the PS3 coming out soon and the blue-ray computer recorders on the horizon I don't see many buying this thing anytime soon. Hell first generation home DVD recorders were only $1500.

Re:8 out of 10? Sounds more like 2 out of 10 to me (1)

MasterC (70492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484527)

I think the irony is that the site is named "TrustedReviews." I'm glad that the review itself was, as far as I can tell, relatively honest, but these scores grossly overstate what the actual rating


Never heard of the site before and will never use it now. Never heard of the product before and will never buy it now.

Nothing But Good News For Sony (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483741)

They had the amazing Tokyo Game showing with Motorstorm, Resistance(40 player online games), etc

They had the amazing and free online service revealed

They had the amazing Linux on every PS3 news we are still getting details on

And now this incredibly cool item.

BluRay Media Center - BluRay 1080p movie playback and movie burning
PS3 - BluRay 1080p movie playback and downloaded movies and music, DLNA compliance, full Linux distro for the ultimate custom home media center - Cell is obscenely fast for h.264 movie encoding
PSP - stream content on the fly from your PS3 wirelessly

Re:Nothing But Good News For Sony (2, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483781)

Hadn't you better get back to work??? Lunchtime is over in the Sony Marketing department now, isn't it?

Re:Nothing But Good News For Sony (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483851)

For real? Did you even read the review? Here's the short summary (see my comment above for the long one):

This machine really sucks ass. It won't let you play your movies. After a bunch of jumping through hoops, it may oblige, but when it does, the quality isn't even that good. Oh, and it's about five times more expensive than everything currently out there.

Final rating: 8 out of 10!

Seriously, are you on drugs?

Re:Nothing But Good News For Sony (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484651)

I absolutely agree with you.

Sony has done nothing but amaze me for this past year. Just when I think you^Wthey couldn't possibly fuck up any worse, BLAM! They completely blow away my expectations. Broken low-end PC disguised as a £1600 BR player? Genius.

Missing features (3, Funny)

crunch_ca (972937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483771)

Blu-Ray, USB2.0, CompactFlash, firewire. But where's the betamax slot?

Re:Missing features (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484759)

But where's the betamax slot?
Next to the dongle port.

Re:Missing features (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484919)

>But where's the betamax slot?
Between the 8-track slot and the Elcaset. [wikipedia.org]

Doesn't jive... (4, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483795)

I'm sorry, but HDMI and HDCP enabled and ultimate media center just don't go together in the same sentence.

Any media center PC that's designed to keep me from recording the TV shows I'm receiving does not qualify as ultimate

no, really? (1)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483841)

This looks like it could be the ultimate media center PC with a Blu-ray re-writer, HDMI and HDCP enabled NVidia graphics, integrated wireless, gigabit ethernet, digital TV tuner and twin hard disks. Unfortunately it doesn't come cheap.
No, really? I'd think that all that stuff would be so cheap! BD-RW drive, HD enabled graphics cards, integrated wireless, gigabit ethernet, digital tuner, and two hard drives are soooo cheap.

Re:no, really? (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485217)

Frankly, most of it is cheap. For price comparison, my Mac Mini has wireless and gigabit ethernet, for £400. I bought a digital tuner for a further £80. Lets call the drives £60 each, taking us up to £600, leaving £1,200 to cover the Blu-Ray drive, and DRMing your content.

I keep wondering who's buying this crap (2)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483847)

From TFA:

What happens what you try and watch an HDCP encrypted movie on a display without HDCP? I hooked up a bog standard 17in, 1,280 x 1,024 display and tried to play a movie. The supplied InterVideo WinDVD BD software started to play and then stopped - and that was that. So there you go - the disc won't even play

So a paid-for movie on BlueRay, combined with a Sony "root-kit-o-matic" Vaio, and a non-HDCP display (which is most displays in homes... heck most displays on the market right now) is going to fail to play. Apparently without an error message. Just craps out.

I hope that this "wired DRM" will seriously backfire on all the cretins supporting it: Sony, Microsoft, the studios, etc. I don't understand how they expect to get people to switch over to their new DRM scheme when the massive downside is that for most consumers, right now, anything they buy that uses this scheme is going to fail to play. It's either going to fail because they don't know which movie format to buy, or fail to play because their media is now tied to their player, or fail to play because the player will refuse to send data to a non-DRM'd display.

Two or three failures of this sort will be all it takes for most people to give up on the technology. DVDs (and iTunes, and other similar schemes) succeeded because the DRM is mostly transparent. Yes, there's no way to skip through the FBI warning at the beginning of the movie, but most folks don't care because eventually the movie plays and the 10 second wait isn't that frustrating. But when the system won't play a BlueRay disk and they can't figure out why (and it's happened twice before) I think a lot of folks are going to shrug and say "Well, I guess I'll stick with DVDs"

Re:I keep wondering who's buying this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483975)

Somebody who can hire a team of people who can decipher how to hook it up. That's pretty much the only reason it will fail. People will not be able to hook the shit up. I can imagine a millionaire Korean that comes up with a player that says "fuck you" to all the complicated nonsense.

Re:I keep wondering who's buying this crap (1)

a55clown (723455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484215)

But when the system won't play a BlueRay disk and they can't figure out why (and it's happened twice before) I think a lot of folks are going to shrug and say "Well, I guess I'll stick with DVDs"

I concur. Somehow I get the feeling this is going to be a slightly bigger hurdle for Joe User than the last time when he tried playing a DVD in a standalone CD player.

Re:I keep wondering who's buying this crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484305)

"Sony "root-kit-o-matic" Vaio"

I love the smell of anti fanboy in the morning... smells like chicken. Since when does Sony Music have a flippin thing to do with a Vaio.... btw I own one, and SHOCK GASP HORROR, no rootkit. AMAZING!!!

Re:I keep wondering who's buying this crap (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485731)

Not just that, but the rootkit was done by a subcontractor to BMG, which BMG had relied on for their copy protection for years. The only reason Sony ever got pulled into it is because by buying BMG, they became responsible for their problem.

But let's not let facts get in the way of a good bit of poo-slinging....

Re:I keep wondering who's buying this crap (2, Interesting)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484789)

So a paid-for movie on BlueRay, combined with a Sony "root-kit-o-matic" Vaio, and a non-HDCP display (which is most displays in homes... heck most displays on the market right now) is going to fail to play. Apparently without an error message. Just craps out.

I share your ambivalence over this thing, but be fair. The supplied disc was HDCP-protected. So it didn't play on an HDCP-monitor. We know how this works (and yeah we don't like it). But that is a far cry from 'can't watch my movies' or 'can't record my TV'. Wait and See is the right attitude here, as we have no idea if the market will accept HDCP-protected content or not. I actually happen to think it won't; people are sick of this crap, but more importantly the displays with HDMI/HDCP are simply not out there in anything resembling a critical mass. I think HDCP is stillborn (in content) due to simple market forces. HDMI will just become 'DVI with audio', just another plug. (IMHO)

And one other nitpick - let's put the rootkit blame where it belongs, shall we? Boycott Sony-BMG, that's where it came from. You can boycott Sony Electronics if you think their quality has gone downhill (and its a fair argument, I'm looking at you laptop batteries). I've personally written off all the hydra heads of Sony except SCEA, who - if I'm fair - has provided me with hundreds of hours of entertainment very cheaply, with one bad PS2 laser being the only fly in the ointment (and they fixed it very quickly).

Yes but, (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483853)

does it run MythTV? If it does, then it may be a nice box.

Re:Yes but, (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484443)

The PS3 might since it supports Linux - Yellow Dog Linux in fact. The big question is can you have Linux on your console without disrupting your ability to play games. If the answer is yes, the PS3 will kick ass.

My three top questions and their answers (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483881)

I'm haven't read the article yet. I'm going to list questions I have, which, if the answers are all "yes," would make this interesting to me.

1) Can I use this just like a standalone DVD recorder, i.e. can I record any program I'm watching on my TV, whether broadcast or cable, and then burn a DVD from it that will play in an ordinary DVD player?

2) Will it play (just play, not record) HD-DVDs, just in case the movies I want to buy aren't released in Blu-Ray format (or just in case the local video store happens to have the HD-DVD versions but not the Blu-Ray versions on the shelf on the day I happen to be in the store?)

3) Is there a list of certified Blu-Ray media that are guaranteed to work in the device, or is it going to be "a lot of them work most of the time, try them yourself and see" (as it is with DVD-RW, DL DVD+R, and that whole zoo).

Now, let's see if the article answers these questions and what the answers are.

1) Not answered. 2) Not answered. 3) Not answered, except in the sense that "so once dual-layer discs appear you also get the ability to burn up to 50GB of data to a single disc" (i.e. dual-layer media aren't even available yet).

It does not sound to me as if the reviewer even attempted to burn a video disk. It sounds as if the reviewer had his hands full just trying to get the thing to _play_ them.

!!!!! To play a Blu-ray disc you need to use dedicated software that can handle the HDCP part of the AACS encryption standard and Media Center can't do this at present.... For now though, to play the movie from the sofa... On first attempt we got a region code error message. I then went into the software and selected Region B. Restarting the software, the disc then played but with strange graphical corruption. Restarting the PC sorted this."

And the bottom line? Being a discerning person "I could still immediately discern the increased detail and resolution in the picture over DVD. It was as clear as day to me, but actually not everyone in the office could make this out or was impressed by it."

This has got to be a joke, right? An expensive PC that requires you to launch special software from the keyboard in order just to play a disk, with glitches, that worked after a few restarts, producing an image that was not enough better than a DVD to be obvious to everyone?

Re:My three top questions and their answers (1)

Fezmid (774255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484101)

> producing an image that was not enough better
> than a DVD to be obvious to everyone?

That's because most Blu-ray movies aren't that much better than standard DVD. HD-DVD, on the other hand, has a consistently better picture (due to a better codec and more space - 30G vs 25G, although there's now one 50G BD disk available that has average PQ as well :) ).

To answer your HD-DVD question, it doesn't play them. There's no dual players (yet?), and Sony wouldn't produce something that plays the rival format anyway. It appears that they're willing to bet the entire company on PS3/BD. How the mighty have fallen.

http://www.thedvdwars.com/index.cfm [thedvdwars.com]

Piece of Junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483885)

By the time this hits the market, it will be obsolete... making it easy for Apple to take over the world!

Wal-Marting the early adopters. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483931)

"This looks like it could be the ultimate media center PC with a Blu-ray re-writer, HDMI and HDCP enabled NVidia graphics, integrated wireless, gigabit ethernet, digital TV tuner and twin hard disks. Unfortunately it doesn't come cheap."

Were you expecting it to be otherwise?

Rootkit? (1)

jbrandv (96371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483973)

But does it come with the new Sony rootkit? Boycot ALL Sony products!

Friends dont let friends buy Sony (0, Flamebait)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484011)

OK, Call it flamebait, but mod it "Interesting".

Any money you spend on Sony gear goes to pay for DRM, CDs infected with crap and other things we dont want.

Last time I bought Sony was in 2004. It was a nice theater system with a DVD changer for my parents in law. It did not play their french DVDs, and no workaround.

*no more*

They bought a cheap player and placed it on top, and use the Sony as a table.

Re:Friends dont let friends buy Sony (2, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484593)

I presume your boycotting Toshiba, Panasonic, Microsoft, Apple, and pretty much every other main stream electronics / hardware company as well right? I'd hate to think your just bandwagon jumping, and since you've held out since 04, I imagine that's a safe bet.

The press are telling people not to buy this stuff (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484033)

I don't know about the US, but here in the UK I've noticed a number of articles in the popular press about the launch of Blu-ray and HD-DVD over the past few days, and I heard someone talking about it on a radio news program yesterday. I suppose the manufacturers are having a marketing blitz.

Every single article said "don't buy it". Everyone is being told that it is Betamax-versus-VHS all over again. If that's the message from the popular media (who usually just regurgitate marketing hype without thinking about it), then it's going to be a while before Sony sells many of these things over here.

Cablecard (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484041)

Still needs a Cablecard 2.0 card slot. A media PC without Cablecard is kind of useless unless you never watch TV or have no plans to use it as a PVR.

Not a media center (1)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484081)

If I can't rip the content and stick in on the hard drive in a library, then it isn't a media center... it's a fancy disc player.

Currency Exhange (1)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484327)

While this box is definitely expensive for what it is, it wouldn't cost anywhere near what you Americans are making out. Electronics are generally more expensive in the UK. Case in point: the PS2 (and probably the PS3) launched at the same numerical price despite our currency's higher value.

Alternatives? (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484345)

Someone please tell me there are non-proprietary alternatives for larger storage on a "CD". Yeah, it's still a compact disc, no matter how much info it holds =P If HD and Blu-ray are both locked down, where's the user-friendly media that I can actually, you know, USE, that has a higher capacity than a DVD? Don't say hard drive, I'm talking about for backing stuff up or transporting stuff. Sure, thumbdrives can hold quite a bit, but not as much as a "CD" could hold. Maybe hard drives will just become even more portable though before such a technology comes out.

B-b-b-b-but I thought.... (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484459)

...the PS3 was supposed make "media center" PCs obsolete? WTF Sony?

Moo (0, Offtopic)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484479)

Unfortunately it doesn't come cheap.

Nothing is cheap.

Ever see that Far Side with an early plumber looking at some guy's backyard hole? "Ooh, this not be cheap."

PS3 w/ Linux + Myth TV (1)

doctor_no (214917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484515)

... Or you can get the 20GB PS3 w/ HDMI for $500, and install Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 on it with Myth TV, and you basically have almost the same thing. A Blu-ray media center , Nvidia graphics, USB ports, HDMI 1.3 with HDCP, etc. on the cheap.

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/16/ 1342243 [slashdot.org]

Re:PS3 w/ Linux + Myth TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484867)

Except you have no tuner, so you cant record anything. Also, your drive isnt a burner. Why even bother with mythtv or linux? It plays movies and games, and is probably better at that, but its not really the same thing.

Re:PS3 w/ Linux + Myth TV (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485261)

20GB is not ideal for a DVR but Sony will let you put a bigger HD in there and using USB for TV can work also Sony did say something about be able to running Mac osx on the ps3.

"The Living Room Test" (1)

Marwood (697026) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484523)

Call me picky if you like but for me this immediately fails "the living room test"

Why? Because of all those crappy little Intel/Microsoft/Godknowswho stickers on the front.

I know it's small thing but if I want something in my AV system or under my telly at home I want it to look, you know, like a piece of AV kit and not some grey slab of plastic with funny little colourful stickers on the front.

I don't know, maybe it's just me.

*shrugs*

PS3? (1)

Seto89 (986727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485003)

Didn't Sony claim that PS3 is the ultimate media player and the ONLY media player you will ever need?

TLP is WA-A-AY off-base. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485069)

This looks like it could be the ultimate media center PC with a Blu-ray re-writer

With a SONY product in it? Wait, lemme guess - it comes pre-rooted from the factory, right? No need to purchase any audio CD's from Sony? Yeah, this is the ultimate media center PC - if, by ultimate you mean "Ultimately pwned by the *AA"!

Not that HD-DVD is much better at this point, except that I don't recall anybody having their machine rooted (administered? pwned?) by a HD-DVD manufacturer. The DRM being built into HD media is onerous at best, intolerable at worst.

No, I think I'll just limp along on good old DVD's and NTSC television on my PC for now - at least on my Linux box, I know everybody who has root authority (hint: "root" is the only one on that list). How many people who buy a computer MADE BY SONY will ever be able to claim that they know everyone who has administrator authority on their machine? Hellfire, there are a lot of people who only bought CD's made by Sony that can't even make that claim! Now, they think consumers will be dumb enough to buy a machine made by them?

Damn! They're probably right.

it's about relative value (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485311)

Over US$3,000 for this thing? I could buy SIX Playstation 3's for that price!

I wonder if that's why this thing exists in the first place: to make the PS3 look like an absolute bargain in comparison.

mod doWN (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16485779)

at my freelance but suffice iut

YUO FAIL IT?! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16486073)

hand...don't these challenges cris3o or lube.
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