Alternative to Sony Vaio VGX-TP3E/B

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by techno79, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. techno79

    techno79
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    My custom built HTPC has just died on me. While I'm sure I could diagnose and fix the PC, it is just too unreliable and the number of issues I've had with it over the last 2 years has now resulted in lost confidence of the HTPC with the wife.

    I definitely want to stick with Vista Media Center as it is really good and I've got it working very well with my Windows Home Server. I'm now looking for a nice pre-built unit that should just work out of the box with minimal configuration. The most desirable HTPC that I can find at the moment is:
    the Sony Vaio VGX-TP3E/B for ~£500 (or the Blu-ray variant Sony Vaio VGX-TP3Z/B ~£730).

    Can anyone suggest/recommend any worth contenders that I should consider in addition to this?

    Things that are important to me are:
    1. Must look nice.
    2. Silent or very quiet.
    3. Twin tuner
    4. Pre-built
    5. HDMI is desirable but not essential.
    6. Must come with Vista.
    7. If it has a hardware spec that can vaguely run Windows 7 then that is desirable.

    TIA
     
  2. pbu50w

    pbu50w
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    Why don't you just get a TP3Z. I.ve got one and it works great with XBMC
     
  3. bahree

    bahree
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    Hi, I am in the same dilemma and was wondering if you use Sky for TV or something else? We use Sky and I would expect this to work with this but not sure if there will be any issues.

    Also how loud is the unit?

    Thanks.
     
  4. jah

    jah
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    Does anyone know if the HDMI out on this is 1.3a or not?

    Cheers,

    jah
     
  5. BertyUK

    BertyUK
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    Hi i've got the TP3Z as well. its a great machine, crap keyboard though so i've got the logitech mini instead.

    sony center says it's HDMI 1.3 i'm not sure about (1.3a)
     
  6. jah

    jah
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    Hi Berty,

    Thanks for the info. That could well mean it is 1.3a. Do you know if you're able to pass audio to your receiver via HDMI because that would confirm it?

    The prices on these seem to have dropped quite a bit recently which should presage a new model very soon. However, if the current one can do this then I'm interested and might pick myself up a bit of a bargain;).

    Cheers,

    jah
     
  7. jameson_uk

    jameson_uk
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    Does it make a difference? You do not need a HDMI 1.3 connection for 7.1 LPCM which I am guessing would be the limit of this hardware anyway. HDMI 1.3 is only an issue if you plan on bitstreaming TrueHD or DTS-HD MA but I am fairly sure this is currently only possible using the Asus Xonar HDAV and TMT player
     
  8. jah

    jah
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    Yes, I'm looking to be able to stream all audio formats ideally. I have an Onkyo 876 and want to be able to dispense with the optical out if possible. I'd also like xvYCC too for future-proofing ideally.

    Cheers,

    jah
     
  9. jameson_uk

    jameson_uk
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    The problem here is the Protected Audio Path (PAP) not HDMI 1.3a. The only option that I am aware of that currently supports PAP (and hence bitstreaming HD audio to your amp) is the Asus Xonar HDAV card. Without this HDMI 1.3 is basically useless.

    You do not need HDMI 1.3 to get rid of the optical connection. All HDMI (I think) will support the same as your optical cable now so that is not an issue and I believe everything from HDMI 1.1 and on will support LPCM which is the best HD audio you will get without a PAP solution
     
  10. jah

    jah
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    Thanks for that info. Have had a read. I wasn't completely au fait with this stuff. It seems that Windows 7 will have PAP built in and it's not that far off. Maybe the new Sonys will have PAP-capable sound? Even so, it doesn't seem to be too much of an issue so I may go for it after all;).

    Cheers,

    jah
     
  11. novice pc chap

    novice pc chap
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    hi was wondering if this vgx-tp3e/b would when plugged into a sony brava lcd with free view actually be able to record,pause and live view the free view platform on tv. trying to get rd of current virgin tv package as never watch even half the channels but like the record fuction this home entertainment system and online fuctions which would a taking it would rid me of home pc.

    can ya tell am a first time blogger ..... thought so

    please help ??
     
  12. ActualWinners

    ActualWinners
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    Hi Novice! Welcome aboard.

    Yes, you're right in thinking that you'd be able to record, live pause and playback recorded shows using the TP3. Obviously plus a whole bunch of other features too. You would in theory be able to drop Virgin, but bear in mind you shouldn't expect the same channel line-up.

    Can anyone confirm that the TP3 has a componsite (or s-video) AV input as I want to feed my Sky box in to archive off content?

    Paul
     
  13. Cos76

    Cos76
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    Hi all, im looking to buy one of these but wondering if i should be considering anything else?

    As its now discontinued by sony there quite cheap...

    Ive also been reading on here about the asrock ion 330 which sounds good.


    any advice appreciated.

    It will be for the bedroom, i already have a htpc in the lounge and looking for something small, quiet, good looking and be able to use it for watching/recording freeview tv, browsing the internet, watching movies, listening to music and having it connected to a 42" plasma via hdmi.

    Kind Regards

    Cos
     
  14. techno79

    techno79
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    Personally I'd hold off until new HTPC's come out with Windows 7. There some tweaks and features added to Media Center on Windows 7 on top of Vista which make it worth it plus it runs a lot more quicker on the same hardware. I don't expect it to be long before we see equivalent living room platforms. However, if cost is really an issue then now's the perfect time to get a Vista HTPC as it will most likely be reduced in price.
     

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