Having only yesterday revealed an all-in-one high definition multimedia PC, it seems only right that Sony would also want to offer up a more budget-oriented option. To that effect the VGX-TP1, due in October, offers many of the features of its bigger brother but at a much friendlier price. So if you don't need or want Blu-ray playback and prefer to use your TV as a monitor rather than having it bundled, cast your eyes over the Sony VGX-TP1.
In looks alone it certainly lives up to the like.no.other branding and though I'm sure many will disagree I happen to think it looks pretty dandy - you don't have to be Nintendo to get away with shiny white plastic. Connectivity is good as well with HDMI, component (via a breakout cable) and optical outputs for connecting your HDTV and sound system up.
Specs are reasonable for the intended purpose, with a 1.66GHz Core 2 T5500 processor, 1GB RAM and Intel integrated graphics. While this should be sufficient for 720p playback, don't get your hopes up trying to decode any 1080p content - at least not anything encoded in AVCHD. A hybrid DVB-T tuner is also onboard so you can watch your favourite Freeview broadcasting.
Of course with a 500GB hard drive you shouldn't have a hard time saving all your favourite programmes for a later date and of course you can play back any DivX, Xvid content. Or anything else with a Vista codec for that matter. Draft-N wireless is also available to allow you to stream that content to or from any other PC in your household.
Finally, at £699 the TP1 isn't exactly extorting cash from you considering the functionality and compactness. Sure a DVR and DVD player combo may offer much the same functionality at a lower price, but with the TP1 you're also getting a (nearly) fully fledged PC. Sony also claims its device is near-silent and even bundles an HDMI to DVI cable in the box so the system is ready to go. AppleTV eat your heart out, this is the level of functionality we want from our digital recorders.