Sony redesigns the Media Center PC

Ten months after we saw the VGX-TP1 at CES, Sony has officially announced that it will launch its "ultimate entertainment" PC in October.

The VGX-TP1 is a 2007 reworking of Sony's VAIO Digital Living System - basically a Viiv PC with consumer electronics styling. Where the previous Digital Living System was predominantly black and boxy, the TP1 looks newer, better and fresher, thanks mainly to its eye-catching circular, white design.

Sony geek-chic

At CES back in January, Hideyuki Furumi, senior vice president of Sony's IT Product Division, said that the TP1's design would: "shatter the notion of what a PC product should look like or where it should reside in your home."

You could argue that Sony is simply headline-grabbing here, favouring style over technical substance. Yes, this a certainly Media Center PC that deserves to be seen, but it's not the over-priced geek-chic package that you might expect it to be.

For a start, it's affordable. The £699 (inc VAT) price point buys you a Vista Premium system built around Intel's T5500 Core 2 Duo processor, a 500GB hard drive and a hybrid TV tuner (with a handy HDMI output).

You don't get a monitor thrown in for this price either - the TP1 should ideally be hooked up to a high-def TV. You do get a matching white keyboard, however, plus the obligatory Media Center remote control (also in white) so you can pause and rewind live telly from the sofa.

The VGX-TP1E model for the UK is available now for pre-order on the Sony Style website. You'll also find the full specification of the system there.