When Packard Bell said it has some cool stuff to show us, we should have guessed the venue would be the Absolut Ice Bar in Mayfair. The evening was pretty cool (ho hum) -- we were greeted at the door by a pair of well-trained huskies, checked out some products in the warm room, then froze our ears off in the ice room.
The event was packed with some funky-looking gizmos including the iPower gaming PCs, the iTwin all-in-one PC, and the iStart budget computers. But by far the most impressive was the Packard Bell Smart TV S320: a 32-inch HD-ready LCD television with a personal computer stuffed inside it.
The screen is capable of displaying resolutions up to 720p and there's an HDMI socket, so it's ready to accept inputs from forthcoming devices like Blu-ray and HD DVD players. The PC part of it is pretty clever, too. It's Intel Viiv-certified and uses a dual-core Intel Pentium D 820, 930 or 940 CPU; an entry-level ATI Radeon X1300 HM 64 graphics card; and has two Hybrid TV tuners that let you watch and record analogue or Freeview television.
As for other clever touches -- there's a wireless keyboard, and a gyscopic infrared remote control that lets you move the cursor by waving the remote at the screen. Packard Bell says it isn't willing to hedge its bets on integrated HD DVD or Blu-ray drives at the moment, so you're stuck with a standard DVD rewriter for the time being.
The Smart TV 320 is available now from PC World for around £2,000. We'll have a full review of it soon. -RR