Sony PC for Living Room

Sony's new VAIO TP1 doesn't look like a computer.

The number of good reasons for having a computer attached to your television grows daily. Digital video recording, access to shared media storage, Internet music and video streams, and more make it an ideal match. Of course, the “Design Police” may object to putting an ugly beige box by your beautiful flat screen HDTV.

Sony has a solution. You might think that the new VAIO TP1 Living Room computer looks a bit like a Roomba designed for a Star Wars storm trooper’s home. You certainly are not likely to think that it looks like a computer. The big white hockey puck provides DVR functions for high definition programming, including over the air. It has an HDMI connection to make cabling easy. It has wireless network support built in, as well as a DVD writer. It has connectors for USB storage devices and memory cards. Inside, an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 300 GB hard drive provide the necessary horsepower.

The TP1 was announced at CES lat January, but only started shipping at the end of July. (And the SonyStyle site shows it as “no longer available for purchase ” for some reason.) It lists for $1,600 which means that you’ll pay a stiff premium for the “cute” factor, but let’s hope it’s a bellwether for new living room models from other manufacturers that don’t look like computers, either.