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Covering every single one of the Saturn HD50’s features would require something akin to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But to give you at least some comprehension of the level of sophistication we’re talking about, built into that console stand is a high-spec ‘media gateway’: effectively a mega-powerful Windows Media Centre PC. This makes the Saturn HD50 capable of doing everything you’d expect a normal PC to do – ripping your CDs to hard disk, surfing the Internet, downloading movies, sending emails, and so on.
The Saturn HD50 also comes with two digital tuners built into its PC section, which enables you to record vast quantities of TV shows onto a seriously large 400GB built-in hard disk. Plus there’s a built-in DVD player that could in the future be replaced by a Blu-ray or HD DVD deck depending on what you want/which format succeeds. Vivadi is already working on an HD DVD option, in fact.
When it comes to connections, things are necessarily slightly affected by the TV’s PC ‘middle man’ approach. But all you really need to know is that the set carries two HDMI inputs for digital high definition sources, but that the component video inputs surprisingly only take standard definition feeds – a shortcoming that prevents the Saturn HD50 from earning the AV world’s HD Ready badge.
While this initially appears daft on such a posh TV, it’s arguably not as serious as it sounds. The set still has an HD friendly native resolution of 1,366 x 768 and its HDMI jacks will take the key 720p and 1080i formats. And going forward digital connections will doubtless start to render HD component connections redundant. But the lack of a component HD option does mean the HD50 won’t let you connect an Xbox 360 in HD mode via the normal Microsoft component cable.
The final point to make about the Saturn HD50 is that it features a racking system tastefully tucked away inside the cabinet where you can invisibly add, say, a Sky HD box.