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Sony Unveils PC/TV Combo

The Vaio LS1 includes a 19-inch LCD screen with computing components tucked behind the flat panel.

Sony Corp. on Tuesday introduced a TV/PC combo that targets city dwellers living in apartments where space is a premium.

The Vaio LS1 includes a 19-inch LCD screen with computing components tucked behind the flat panel, similar to Apple Computer Inc.'s iMacs.

The machine runs Microsoft's Windows Media Center and includes a built-in TV tuner for delivering capabilities similar to a digital video recorder. The system, which is powered by an Intel Core Duo processor, includes a 250GB hard drive for storing recorded movies, video and audio, and can also burn content to a DVD.

The computer is capable of running the premium edition of Windows Vista, which is expected to ship to consumers in January.

The Vaio LS1 follows a trend among computer makers to deliver systems capable of acting as entertainment centers. The Sony system's screen is too small for large living rooms, but could be sufficient for small apartments.

Systems like the Vaio are expected to evolve into so-called "home media servers" that can deliver all forms of media throughout a home network. Market researcher In-Stat expects 31 million of these systems to ship in the United States in 2008. Two-thirds of the units are expected to be consumer electronic-based, such as DVRs, with the remainder based on computers.

The Vaio LS1 TV/PC combo is expected to ship in mid-September and cost about $2,100.

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