Rock god Alice Cooper might be asking us to throw out our TVs for a new Sony Bravia, but now it’s PCs and games consoles that are taking on the telly’s job – Xbox 360 users can access Sky TV, the Wii is set to get the BBC’s iPlayer, and now there’s Packard Bell’s latest offering.
The latest piece of technology to do two jobs for the price of one (more on that later) is the Packard Bell OneTwo series, the first PCs to be Freeview certified.
These all-in-one PCS are slim and stylish, with a glossy black finish – not bad for a company that had been considered less fashionable than Susan Boyle before her makeover.
Forget the old days of TV cards, the oneTwo PCs have a built-in Freeview digital TV tuner alongside the new Windows 7 operating system. All you have to do to have the benefit of all your usual computing tasks, PLUS up to 50 free-to-air channels available through Freeview in your spare room, kid’s room or wherever you want, is to plug the PC into an aerial socket, follow the set-up steps in Windows Media Center and you’re good to start watching.
You also have the facility of a hard drive recorder, so you can record shows or complete series direct to the hard drive to watch later, and pause live TV (a huge bonus for parents of small children, who rarely get to see TV without any interruptions, or just for popping out to put the kettle on).
A touch-sensitive screen means you don’t even need to use a keyboard or mouse if you don’t want to. Handy if space is tight. But that glossy finish will soon be covered in smears, as it allows the user to utilise all the touch-screen functionality of the latest Windows 7 OS. To complete the multimedia options, it is possible to have a Blu-ray drive pre-installed.
Prices start at around £599 for the 20in screen and around £899 for the 23in screen. The smaller sized all-in-one – the oneTwo M – has a mainstream 20in HD display (1600×900 resolution). It’s based on the Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 CPU and equipped with an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4500 GPU.
The 23in machine – the oneTwo L – boasts an advanced full HD 23in screen with a resolution of 1920x1080an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 CPU, an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 and support for DirectX 10, E-SATA, optional Blu-ray drive and and 5.1-channel surround sound via the integrated 5 Watt stereo speaker.
If you think it sounds a little pricey, just do some maths. Factor in the cost of a separate hard drive recorder and Freeview box (around £180) and a portable TV, and it doesn’t seem so bad.
With its slim design, and a single power cord to avoid a spaghetti junction-like situation round the back, it looks like the Packard Bell oneTwo series All-In-One PC going to be the space-saving all-in-one solution for a lot of bedrooms this Christmas.