CNET First Look
Sony VAIO XL3 Digital Living SystemThe Sony XL3 Digital Living System delivers better than any other full-size home theater PC we've seen--if you're inclined to spend a lot for silence and slim design.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:01 >> Hi I'm Rich Brown, senior editor for CNET.com. Today we are going to talk about the Sony VAIO XL3 Digital living system. As you can see this as a home theater component style case, pretty much designed to go into your home TV rack, pair with your television, put in the living room. There is a wireless keyboard that comes with it, pretty easy to use this thing from the couch. So on the front of the system the first thing you will see is a slot loading blue ray drive, it is a Sony system after all. Behind the paneling you will see a pretty full set of front panel ports; you've got a set of video ends, full-size headphone jack, as well as a mic jack, a couple USBs as well. And because this PC is meant for the living room Sony didn't include a mouse, instead you get a wireless keyboard with a touchpad. We found it worked pretty well although it would often drop a wireless connection, which is a little annoying but you can connect it again pretty easily. What's maybe a little bit more of a concern is that the media buttons are up here on top, we found recently that a lot of media oriented keyboards are putting the play controls on the side rather than along the top that makes them much easier to get at if you are leaning back and you have your thumbs on the side. On the back of the unit you have even more options for input and output. The first is a digital cable tuner from ATI, it accepts a cable card from your Cable Company, that lets you decode digital and HD cable, that's pretty much a first for Windows systems. Now because the system only has one cable card input that means you don't get full TiVo functionality where you can watch TV on one channel and record on another. Below the card tuner you get more or less a full array of home AV jacks, now you might notice that there is no standard DVI jack on the back here. Instead you'll find a single HDMI out, making this definitely HD ready. Inside you can see this isn't really user-friendly, you have your standard RAM slots here so you can add memory pretty easily. Under here is you're CPU, it's an Intel core duo model and if you take up this flap you'll find one spare PCI express slot, although it brushes right up against the cable card tuner. And right here is your video card and sell you could add another video card to it but there is no real reason. Still the system is good because it is very quiet, it's one of the most silent home theater PCs we've seen, so if you value silence and better integration in the living room then maybe you do upgrading; this is a pretty good system for you. So I am Rich Brown and that is the Sony VAIO XL3 Digital living system. ^M00:02:10 [ Music ]