Sony all-in-one aims for no.1

This is the year Media Center PCs will reach giddy new heights. Yep, we know it sounds like one of Stuff’s famous Opening Sentence Rib-Ticklers ™ but

This is the year Media Center PCs will reach giddy new heights. Yep, we know it sounds like one of Stuff’s famous Opening Sentence Rib-Ticklers ™ but – on this occasion – we’re serious. The reason why is staring you in the face and goes by the name of the Sony VA1.

The Sony arrives with us alongside a new generation of handsome and affordable media PCs, including the Evesham Mini, Elonex Lumina and Alienware’s 5400.

Like the Lumina, this new computer-in-a-telly has only one cable – the mains one. The mouse and the lap-friendly touchpad-touting keyboard are both wireless and you can hook up to your home network using good ol’ built-in Wi-Fi. You’ll need to connect your phone in with USB, mind, or buy an adapter, as Sony’s machine doesn’t have Bluetooth.

The most impressive thing here, as you’ll have guessed, is the screen. It’s a 20in widescreen expanse, perfect for watching the Mighty Boosh using the VA1’s remote control and combo analogue-digital TV tuner. Why everyone is using these combo analogue-digi ones, though, is beyond us – why can’t we have double digital, eh?

Tech specs won’t take your breath away but they are pretty tip-top: a 2.8GHz Dual Core processor, 250GB HD, so-so ATI X700 card and dual layer DVD burning.

The downside – or, more accurately, backside – is the fact that the computer’s a bit fat. At 25cm deep, it makes the iMac look like a skinny beauty queen.

The VA1’s out in March for £1500. If you can’t wait that long, take a look at Sony’s DVD player-shaped VGX-XL100 which is on sale this month.

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