January 10, 2008 Sony’s VAIO Home Theatre PC has received a recent upgrade, creating a high definition version with added functionality. The unit's distinctive spherical chassis serves as an entire entertainment center so you can watch and record analog, digital and cable TV and access the Internet to play back online TV programming on a compatible big-screen television.

VAIO® TP Home Theater PC units come in both a standard and a premium configuration. The standard comes in polar white and will retail from about USD$1600 while the premium is piano black and will go for around USD$3,000. Both units will be available later this month. The system supports watching and recording premium HD channels but requires the use of a CableCARD and has a built-in DVR, with up to 50 hours of recording time of HD television programming and pause and rewind of live TV for on-demand playback. The unit features a Blu-ray Disc optical drive to enjoy high-definition movies and the premium model comes with two external CableCARD compatible TV tuners so you can view and record two HD television programs simultaneously.

Simplicity is key to the use of both models that can connect to compatible high-definition televisions via an included HDMI cable. It allows for playback in full HD 1080 resolution through a single cable. And with integrated BRAVIA Sync technology, based on HDMI-CEC functionality, you can power on connected devices at the touch of a button, eliminating the need for multiple remote controls. Both models are equipped with Intel's Core 2 Duo processor T8100 and use Windows Vista Home Premium operating system, discrete graphics and a half-terabyte hard drive.

The round, sleek design will sit comfortably alongside any modern home entertainment set up. “We’re defining the digital home by integrating the latest HD technologies into a one-of-a-kind showpiece,” said Mike Abary, senior vice president of VAIO product marketing at Sony Electronics. “This new unit will revolutionize the way you watch TV, allowing you to turn your entertainment center into an eye-popping, high-definition media hub.”

The console’s small, circular shape was designed with a space in mind that does not usually include a PC, such as the living room. Built-in wireless LAN technology and a wireless router mean there are no messy cables and the unit can be positioned virtually anywhere in the house and still access your home network. The model also comes with a remote control and a matching, wireless keyboard ergonomically designed to fit on your lap so you can surf the Web from the comfort of your couch without the restraint of cords.

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