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Sony adds HD to TV-via-net box

HD streaming for the masses

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Sony's LocationFree media streaming system has been upgraded to HD. The new LF-W1HD device will now support streaming for HD - and Blu-ray content, apparently - around the home, at up to 1080i resolution.

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Sony's LocationFree: HD streaming around the home the future?

The original, standard-definition LocationFree was unveiled in May last year. The following September, Sony unveiled a second-generation model, which gave punters a wider choice of basestation designs.

However, LocationFree's latest incarnation uses MPEG 4 AVC to compress the content sufficiently enough for it to be streamed between the basestation and the receiver, over the 5GHz 802.11a Wi-Fi variety or the older 2.4GHz b and g standards. The maximum transmission distance is about 30m, Sony said.

The basic premise is that the transmitter unit is connected up to your HD source, such as your Blu-ray player. The receiver is connected to a display via an HDMI connection, somewhere else in your home. However, the transmitter unit doesn't connect to your HD source via HDMI and instead offers Japan-standard D connectors able to send 1080i and 720p.

Both units measure 13.5 x 20.8 x 13.5cm, are coloured black, and so should sit neatly beside your Bravia TV - at least that's where Sony would wish them to sit.

The bad news is that the LF-W1HD system will initially only be available in Japan - it goes on sale at the start of December - where it's expected to cost ¥50,000 (£213/€317/$433). Sony hasn't given any indication of when the system might appear in Europe.

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