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Sony Slings that way

Sony Slings that way

Live from CEDIA
Amid the showmanship promoting Blu-ray, the reannouncement of the less-expensive SXRD sets, and the introduction of a new SXRD-based projector (model VPL-VW100), Sony's CEDIA press conference also highlighted a new Location-Free TV. Available in late September for $1,500, the LF-X111 package includes a 12-inch touch-screen LCD and a base station that interfaces with and controls A/V gear, from cable boxes to DVRs to DVD players. At home, you can watch your gear anywhere via a wireless connection to the LCD, and Sony claims to have enhanced the wireless performance over the previous LFTV's, the LF-X1. That model was apparently a customer-support nightmare for Sony, so the company also announced a new dedicated toll-free number, 866/925-7669 (SONY), specifically for LFTV support. Away from home, the TV can interface with any wireless Internet connection to deliver your home A/V system experience. Sony says the new version incorporates an improved MPEG-4 compression scheme and a streamlined setup to make remote viewing go more smoothly.

All of this may seem familiar to users of the Slingbox, and Sony has responded to that device by offering a TV-free LFTV solution: the $350 LF-PK1. While it lists for $100 more than the Slingbox, it appears to do pretty much the same thing. The same base station as the LF-X111 interfaces with your PC and sends your A/V content over the Internet to your PC. The LF-PK1 includes an extra video input over the Slingbox, but otherwise, it may have a hard time justifying its higher price.