Sony's Vaio Type X, which is available only in Japan, is a new home server that contains four 250GB hard drives: two for PC files and the other ones for audiovisual materials such as stored TV programs and music. This computer comes at a price of $5,000. It also features seven TV tuners and a special interface that lets consumers see thumbnails of what they record.
The unusual configuration results from the vagaries of Japanese television. The country has seven network stations, and cable is not as common as in the United States. With Type X, people can record shows from all seven stations automatically and then delete what they don't want to watch.
The 500GB dedicated to TV is enough to record six channels for five-and-a-half days nonstop, a Sony representative said. The interface helps consumers sift through the morass. It lets customers look at thumbnails of all the programs recorded during the same time slot or search for a program by name. It also groups shows by categories--sports or children's programming, for example--selected by the owner.