Sony VAIO VGP-XL1B3 Media Changer Review



I have been looking for a cheap expandable storage method for Media Center for some time.  After one of my recent rants about Media Center storage, one of the [OC]ModShop staff members turned me onto the Sony VAIO VGP-XL1B3 CD/DVD changer.  This device attaches to any Media Center PC (including Vista) and adds additional storage to the entertainment platform via 200 DVDs (1.7 terabytes if every single one of them are double-sided).

The unit seems too good to be true: it allows one to mix and match any number of DVD or CD media in any format that your PC can read, so you can have your entire Divx video archive available at the press of a button. In addition, this unit is also a capable double-sided DVD burner, and can automatically burn an entire series of recorded shows to DVD video.  Also, this unit allows you to rip your entire CD collection to MP3 in one fell swoop without changing media.

Even more intruiging is the fact that you can add up to five units in parallel.  The VAIO comes with two Firewire ports (Sony likes to call it I-link); one to attach to your Media Center PC and the other to another Sony Changer until you reach five total units.

Product Description

The Sony VAIO VGP-XL1B3 CD/DVD changer and recorder connects to your compatible PC (running Windows XP MCE 2005, or Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate) and offers space to store 200 discs at one time. It also offers automatic sequential DVD-burning, making it easy to archive your favorite TV shows so you can enjoy them at your convenience (requires PC with TV tuner). Load it up with your entire CD and DVD collection, and easily manage your library while minimizing clutter in your entertainment area.

Discs inserted into the XL1B3 Changer/Recorder are automatically detected by your PC, which downloads metadata for each disc, so you can view the contents of your entertainment library with cover art, artist information, and track listings without ever having to open a jewel case or remove the discs from their secure storage location. The optimized Windows XP MCE 2005, or Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate interface makes content management a breeze. By accessing downloadable metadata , you can categorize, sort, organize by genre or artist, while saving the time and energy required by manual input and management.

Load the XL1B3 with up to 200 audio CDs to automatically and sequentially copy your CD collection to your PC’s hard drive. Even with hundreds of CDs in your collection, the XL1B3 provides you with the power and to backup your music collection with ease.

The dual-layer DVD drive is compatible with a wide range of formats, including both DVD+RW and DVD-RW discs, CD-RW discs, and dual-layer (DL) DVD+/-R discs, which can hold up to 8.5 GB of data–great for backing up your MP3 collection or your most important documents. It features the following speeds: 4x for DVD+R DL, 16x for both single layer DVD+R/-R, 8x for single layer DVD+RW, 6x for single layer DVD-RW, and 40x/24x for CD-R/RW. It reads DVD-ROM discs at 8x and CD-ROMs at 24x.