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post #1 of 3868 Old 04-19-2007, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I just saw that Sony has released the VGX-XL3 HTPC. Has anyone received one yet or seen one in operation yet?

This is the HTPC with a Blu-ray disc and 1 cable card interface.

The BIG drawback is that it only has 1 cable card interface and it cost $3300. Any other drawbacks or issues.

Thanks,

-Paul

Paul C. Brown
Vice President Hardware Engineering and Manufacturing
Videon Central, Inc.
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post #2 of 3868 Old 04-24-2007, 06:21 AM
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..It has 3 major issues:

1) it does NOT support 1080p only 1080i. That explains why ads for it never specified 1080p instead they specified "full hd"

2) Fonts look like crap. Turning the "ClearType" option on or off has no effect. My old windows XP box connected to the same monitor can do 1080p and the fonts look great.

3) BLue Ray Disc playback on it is not as good as on the stand-alone Sony BD player. The picture doesnt look as good....
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post #3 of 3868 Old 04-26-2007, 01:15 PM
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So I ordered one, should I cancel my order? I have a souped up XL2 with upgraded HDMI video card, Vista and 2gb Ram. I don't care about the Blue Ray player but I want the cable card slot.

With cable card, will it tune the cable card channels to the Xbox 360 Media Extender?

Alfred--
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post #4 of 3868 Old 04-26-2007, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aharding View Post

With cable card, will it tune the cable card channels to the Xbox 360 Media Extender?

Yes.

Chris
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post #5 of 3868 Old 04-28-2007, 04:28 PM
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Quote:


it does NOT support 1080p only 1080i. That explains why ads for it never specified 1080p instead they specified "full hd"

This seems like a huge issue. Seems to me that kind of defeats the purpose of having the BR (and may be one reason the BR looks better from your standalone player, which I assume is 1080p). So the only real reason to buy this then seems to be the cable card slot? If that's the case, why not save about $2K and buy an old xl2 or even xl1 and replace the video and TV cards? Does anyone know if you can buy a standalone TV card with cable card slot to pop into one of the older units?
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post #6 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by s-cbr View Post

Does anyone know if you can buy a standalone TV card with cable card slot to pop into one of the older units?

That's the big issue. In order to get the CableCard functionality - you must by a CableLabs certified PC. There are protections in the OS, CableCard reader, and system bios to ensure compatibility. There are only a couple currently shipping (Niveus, Sony, Velocity Micro) - and they only started shipping this month. If you can wait - more options should be available in the future - but based on their track record I wouldn't think that CableLabs will lift the certification requirement anytime in the near future.
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post #7 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:01 PM
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Are you sure about the 1080p support? How quiet is it after a few hours? Seems you should be able to do 1080p60 at least... my HP DEC with Windows XP can do 1080p60 and it uses an nVidia chipset.
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post #8 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerx83 View Post

..It has 3 major issues:

1) it does NOT support 1080p only 1080i. That explains why ads for it never specified 1080p instead they specified "full hd"

2) Fonts look like crap. Turning the "ClearType" option on or off has no effect. My old windows XP box connected to the same monitor can do 1080p and the fonts look great.

3) BLue Ray Disc playback on it is not as good as on the stand-alone Sony BD player. The picture doesnt look as good....

are you using component or hdmi output on the VGX-XL3?
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post #9 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:22 PM
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Does it have a full HD 1080p sticker on the front of the unit?
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post #10 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imws View Post

Does it have a full HD 1080p sticker on the front of the unit?

A bit of googling shows Sony has gone out of its way to not state 1080p, thus it is 1080i. No marketing person on the planet would turn down the opportunity to use the golden phrase. Instead, they made up a new one.


Bill

Cheers,
Bill
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post #11 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:44 PM
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here is the pdf of the specs...

http://news.sel.sony.com/documents/c...X-XL3_spec.pdf

The full hd 1080 sticker is sony's marketing for 1080p support. It's on almost everything they sell now...
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post #12 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 08:54 PM
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My Sony BDP-S1 standalone blu-ray disc player has that same sticker on the front... it says full hd 1080... The BDP-S1 supports 1080p60 and 1080p24 output via HDMI only. via component it is limited to 1080i60. I've tested this with a Sony VPL-VW100, Sony KDL-40XBR2, Lumagen HDQ, and JVC DLA-RS1 so I know the BDP-S1 supports 1080p60 and 1080p24.

That same sticker is in the VGX-XL3 PDF in the link above...
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post #13 of 3868 Old 04-30-2007, 09:06 PM
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so it looks like this is 1080p after all . . .

i also noticed this in their marketing piece:

"Watch movies in the best high-definition picture quality available today. Whether you're watching a Hollywood title in HD or enjoying crystal clear video captured from your compatible HDV camcorder, the VAIO® XL3 Digital Living System is capable of playing high-definition Blu-rayDisc movies in stunning clarity and incredible full HD 1080 resolution."

hard to believe they wouldn't know they'd be courting a lawsuit if this wasn't 1080p.

now for the cable card: has anyone had experience with cable cards and comcast in the sf bay area? they tried to install one in my aquos about a year ago, and had absolutely no idea what they were doing, so i gave up and went with the box. anybody with a better experience recently?

one more question: can you actually record hd programming to the hard drive, or is most of this content protected even when sent by cable?
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post #14 of 3868 Old 05-01-2007, 02:06 AM
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The cable card support will allow you to record cable and premium hd and non hd content to the hard drive. It is why the cable card support is a big deal.

I saw this unit at J&R and perhaps it was in standby or something but it was near silent. I didn't have a chance to spend anytime with it since I had to rush back to work but I'll get a closer look today.
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post #15 of 3868 Old 05-01-2007, 02:30 AM
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post #16 of 3868 Old 05-01-2007, 04:30 PM
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I had time to look at this machine today at J&R, it was hooked up to a Sony Bravia 46" LCD via HDMI. It was set to output 1080i the resolution was a non standard something like 1768x992, whe I changed it to 1920x1080 interlaced the edges of the desktop were not visible so I left it at the default. As someone pointed out earlier 1080p was not an option. It seems this is directly related to driver that is being used for the TV. The default PnP driver seems to be limited in its support for 1920x1080p. I should point out that the Bravia has the Full HD 1080 sticker as well.
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post #17 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imws View Post

Are you sure about the 1080p support? How quiet is it after a few hours? Seems you should be able to do 1080p60 at least... my HP DEC with Windows XP can do 1080p60 and it uses an nVidia chipset.

The documentation brochure that comes with the pc, mentions only 1080i. I'm using HDMI to connect the PC to a SONY 52" Brevia monitor. I've installed the latest drivers that came with the PC, and then also tried to re-install them from the nvidia site, but it said that my system was most up to date.


This PC does not do 1080p. It is NOT "full HD 1080p" just "full HD".

If anyone has actually gotten this PC to do 1080p please let me know how.

Thanks!
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post #18 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by imws View Post

I had time to look at this machine today at J&R, it was hooked up to a Sony Bravia 46" LCD via HDMI. It was set to output 1080i the resolution was a non standard something like 1768x992, whe I changed it to 1920x1080 interlaced the edges of the desktop were not visible so I left it at the default. As someone pointed out earlier 1080p was not an option. It seems this is directly related to driver that is being used for the TV. The default PnP driver seems to be limited in its support for 1920x1080p. I should point out that the Bravia has the Full HD 1080 sticker as well.


The reason the edges of the desktop were not visible is because you have to set the full pixel option in the Sony Brevia tv. Once you do that, you'll see the whole screen. However it is still interlaced. Very, very disappointing.
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post #19 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by imws View Post

are you using component or hdmi output on the VGX-XL3?

HDMI, connected to a Sony 52" Brevia TV.
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post #20 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imws View Post

My Sony BDP-S1 standalone blu-ray disc player has that same sticker on the front... it says full hd 1080... The BDP-S1 supports 1080p60 and 1080p24 output via HDMI only. via component it is limited to 1080i60. I've tested this with a Sony VPL-VW100, Sony KDL-40XBR2, Lumagen HDQ, and JVC DLA-RS1 so I know the BDP-S1 supports 1080p60 and 1080p24.

That same sticker is in the VGX-XL3 PDF in the link above...

I'm sorry but I don't buy it. Although the sticker is on the VGX-XL3, it does not necessarily mean that it does 1080p. If anyone has gotten this model to output 1080p please let me know how. I don't care if you got a VGX-XL2 or VGX-XL1 to do 1080p, only the XL3.
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post #21 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by s-cbr View Post

so it looks like this is 1080p after all . . .

i also noticed this in their marketing piece:

"Watch movies in the best high-definition picture quality available today. Whether you’re watching a Hollywood title in HD or enjoying crystal clear video captured from your compatible HDV camcorder, the VAIO® XL3 Digital Living System™ is capable of playing high-definition Blu-rayDisc™ movies in stunning clarity and incredible full HD 1080 resolution."

hard to believe they wouldn't know they'd be courting a lawsuit if this wasn't 1080p.

now for the cable card: has anyone had experience with cable cards and comcast in the sf bay area? they tried to install one in my aquos about a year ago, and had absolutely no idea what they were doing, so i gave up and went with the box. anybody with a better experience recently?

one more question: can you actually record hd programming to the hard drive, or is most of this content protected even when sent by cable?

Sorry but this beast only does 1080i. Maybe nVidia needs to release another driver.
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post #22 of 3868 Old 05-02-2007, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imws View Post

I had time to look at this machine today at J&R, it was hooked up to a Sony Bravia 46" LCD via HDMI. It was set to output 1080i the resolution was a non standard something like 1768x992, whe I changed it to 1920x1080 interlaced the edges of the desktop were not visible so I left it at the default. As someone pointed out earlier 1080p was not an option. It seems this is directly related to driver that is being used for the TV. The default PnP driver seems to be limited in its support for 1920x1080p. I should point out that the Bravia has the Full HD 1080 sticker as well.

Maybe you should go back to J&R and ask the nice salesperson if he could show you how to do 1080p. He won't be able to, because it can't. Otherwise the demo would have been in 1080p.
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post #23 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 03:00 AM
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Yes I went back and the nice gentlemen there from Sony was clueless about the whole 1080i 1080p thing. I think there are utilities out there that allow you to write you own monitor driver. Powerstrip comes to mind. But the best option is to wait for the right driver that allows 1080p support with televisions.
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post #24 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 05:32 AM
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The issue around 1080P on the XL3 is due to the facts that:

a) the XL3 runs Windows Vista

b) the Nvidia drivers for Vista SUCK (as do ATI's)


At some point there will be good drivers for Vista video ( comeon guys.....why is this taking so long)

In other words....This is not Sony's fault and it's not Microsoft's fault....pin the blame right wrere it belongs......on NVIDIA.
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post #25 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ToddD View Post

The issue around 1080P on the XL3 is due to the facts that:

a) the XL3 runs Windows Vista

b) the Nvidia drivers for Vista SUCK (as do ATI's)


At some point there will be good drivers for Vista video ( comeon guys.....why is this taking so long)

In other words....This is not Sony's fault and it's not Microsoft's fault....pin the blame right wrere it belongs......on NVIDIA.


Interesting. I went to NVIDIA's website and found nothing that indicates that the NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GTL supports 1080p on *any* platform (?)

Sorry, but I think Sony is at fault for being dishonest by calling the XL3 a "Full HD 1080" system, if that is supposed to mean 1080p.
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post #26 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerx83 View Post

Interesting. I went to NVIDIA's website and found nothing that indicates that the NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GTL supports 1080p on *any* platform (?)

Sorry, but I think Sony is at fault for being dishonest by calling the XL3 a "Full HD 1080" system, if that is supposed to mean 1080p.

Computer monitors are by their nature '"P" devices. Video Card Makers talk resolution not "I" or "P" ...those are Video terms.
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post #27 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 06:06 AM
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I'm sure the VGX-XL3 supports 1920x1200 as that is a standard computer resolution. The driver issue will be resolved at some point to allow 1920x1080p...

The unit is almost silent in operation, the wireless keyboard is easy to type on and the touchpad is a nice feature. I may pick one up soon.
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post #28 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddD View Post

Computer monitors are by their nature '"P" devices. Video Card Makers talk resolution not "I" or "P" ...those are Video terms.

Hmmmm, on the nvidia website for the 7600, http://www.nvidia.com/object/7_series_techspecs.html it states "Integrated HDTV encoder provides analog TV-output (Component/Composite/S-Video) up to 1080i resolution". In http://www.nvidia.com/page/quadroplex_features.html they mention all the different resolutions that card supports and they mention 1080p and 1080i support. I can only conclude that the 7600 simply does not support 1080p.
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post #29 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 06:28 AM
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To switch between the interlaced and progressive modes for 1768x992,
1 Click Advanced Settings, then click the Adapter Tab.
2 Click List all modes, then locate the modes that are appended with
ʺinterlacedʺ or ʺprogressiveʺ and click the appropriate mode.
3 Click OK, then click OK or Apply.

this is from the release notes for the latest 158.18 build driver...

http://us.download.nvidia.com/Window...ease_Notes.pdf

x83 are you running this driver?
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post #30 of 3868 Old 05-03-2007, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imws View Post

To switch between the interlaced and progressive modes for 1768x992,
1 Click Advanced Settings, then click the Adapter Tab.
2 Click List all modes, then locate the modes that are appended with
ʺinterlacedʺ or ʺprogressiveʺ and click the appropriate mode.
3 Click OK, then click OK or Apply.

this is from the release notes for the latest 158.18 build driver...

http://us.download.nvidia.com/Window...ease_Notes.pdf

x83 are you running this driver?

I can't say until I go home and check. But note the resolution you mention: 1768X992. That is not 1920X1080. Am I correct in stating that 992p is not the same as 1080p? What am I missing here?
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