TV anytime, anywhere with Sony's LF-PK1

MUMBAI: It's all about taking the TV out of the living room. Sony of Canada Ltd., unveiled the next generation of its technology-leading portable broadband LocationFree TV system -- an innovative, "place-shifting" software product that brings home audio/video (A/V) content to a consumer's personal computer or PlayStation, portable gaming device "virtually" anytime, anywhere around the world.

Sony is attempting to gain market share from industry leader Slingbox with the LF-PK1. LocationFree works with any video source, including PVRs and TiVOs. Also, the software allows a consumer's notebook to function as a remote control - changing channels, fast-forwarding DVDs and recording on a PVR from anywhere in the world.

Sony Canada marketing manager, Consumer Display Products, Consumer Audio Visual/Information Technology Group, Patrick Lapointe said, "This is clearly an example of a revolutionary wireless entertainment solution. You can watch A/V content anywhere in the world where there is an Internet broadband connection."

The LF-PK1, which includes the base station (essentially, a router lookalike) and the CD-ROM-based software, will retail for $500 (its predecessor cost about $1,800).

What might also drive this place-shifting version is application for PSPs. At the Toronto launch, Lapointe demonstrates how a PSP in Canada can display TV stations broadcast from Japan, since the base station is located in Tokyo. As long as the PSP user is sitting in a hotspot, the streaming video or TV broadcast should be seamless. That kind of flexibility is ideal for travellers, on-the-road gamers and TV junkies, Lapointe says.

The proprietary LocationFree software works in conjunction with a LocationFree TV base station, which will accompany it in a package. When the software is installed on any notebook PC running Microsoft's Windows 2000 (with Service Pack 4) or XP operating system, A/V content can be accessed from a LocationFree TV home base station via a high-speed broadband Internet connection of 300 kbps (kilobits per second) or higher upload/download speed.

The LocationFree TV base station allows for up to four registered LocationFree TV monitors or PCs for enjoying the so-called NetAV function. This gives consumers the option to connect a notebook or desktop PC, PSP device and an additional computer, if desired. Although only one device can stream video at a time, this capability provides the convenience of picking any device at any given moment to watch A/V content without the hassle of unplugging or reconfiguring systems.

Also, the LocationFree software allows a consumer's notebook PC to function as a remote control so they can change television channels, fast forward DVDs and set up recordings on a DVR via the broadband Internet.

For example, when on the road, if a consumer forgets to set-up a recording of their favourite TV program, the LocationFree Player for PC software will allow them to do so remotely. The LocationFree software includes an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) and an on-screen universal remote (compatible with most major hardware brands), making it extremely versatile. The GUI makes it easy to navigate various menus and channels while reading program information.

Sony's latest LocationFree version is poised to reshape how entertainment is enjoyed by people who want to think outside the box.

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