Not So Cheap Knockoff

By on October 20, 2005

I saw something yesterday about a new computer that Sony just released — the VIAO VA TV-PC — and my first thought was, “Great. Another cheap iMac G5 knockoff.”

Then I saw the price. $1,999.99 for the 17” model and $2,199.99 for the 20”. Crimony! Compare that to the iMacs at $1,299 and $1,699 (no 99 cents!) and it makes you wonder why all the fuss over Apple’s pricing.

A lot of people will argue that when compared to similar Wintel machines, Macintosh computers are basically overpriced upscale PC’s. Sony has always been known for producing slightly upscale computers themselves, but rarely do they — or Dell, with the new XPS lineup — draw the ire that Macs draw. Why is that?

On closer examination — comparing Apples to apples, so to say — one thing the Sony does that the Mac does not is play & record TV. Not that the Mac can’t do it, you’d just have to spend a little extra money to get it there. But even with a decent add-on the Mac is still less expensive.

Go figure.

What This Links To


  1. Sony has always been known for producing slightly upscale computers

    Replace “upscale” with “overpriced” and that would be a correct sentence. Sony desktops have proprietary cases and sluggish performance. Their laptops would be decent enough if the screens didn’t die within a year. 3 of my co-workers have had to have their screens replaced. Another one had a hard drive fail within a year. Glad I went with a cheap inexpensive Dell :-)

  2. It depends on how you define “Journalist“.

    Besides, the Mac users in our little bit of journalistic excellence known as Gadgetopia are vastly outgunned by the PC users, so even here the conspiracy theory doesn’t hold water.

  3. You also missed the video memory and ram difference. Whether that makes up the difference is a matter of opinion.

    Sony – ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X700 256MB Video Memory
    Apple – ATI Radeon X600 XT with 128MB DDR SDRAM; PCI-Express

    Sony – 1GB RAM
    Apple – 512MB of 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-4200)

    Sony- 20” WXGA LCD90 with XBRITE™ technology (1366×768)
    Apple- 20-inch (viewable) widescreen TFT active-matrix LCD, 1680 x 1050 pixels, millions of colors

    Sony – $ 1,999.99 basically $2000
    Apple – $1,699.00 basically $1700

    Weird numbers if you ask me. The Sony “seems” to have more “horsepower” for a better picture quality, but who has the better screen; TFT vs. WXGA????

    If someone wants to buy me one of each, I’d be happy to do a thorough analysis of their picture quality!!!! ;-)

  4. You also missed the video memory and ram difference.

    Actually, when comparing prices I did add the extra half-gig of RAM to the Mac; $100 through the Apple Store. The video memory was a bit confusing; on the page I linked to above, it reads 256MB video memory (and I missed that!) but the first page I looked at (here) says “Up to nVIDIA® GeForce™ FX Go5700 128MB Video Memory”, so I thought I was actually giving Sony a pass on that. Doh!

    So much for that ole conspiracy theory Deane!

    Truth be told, I’m with Mark; give me one of each & I’ll be happy to use my family as guinea pigs on them. I’ll even try to be patient & fair with the Winders beast. Honest.

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