MC VAIO is in the hizzouse!
My Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z laptop arrived this morning, fresh and new, just as the description on eBay stated. After scratching my head as to where the Windows install DVD was (it turns out there isn’t one - bizarrely, the user has to create their own set of recovery discs - very stingy, Sony) and discovering that I am entitled to yet another copy of Casino Royale on Blu-ray (free this time, as a reward for registering the laptop online), I got the thing set up and ran Windows on it for the first time.
Sony’s laptops now come with Windows Vista as standard, which I’m ultimately fine with, because, although I still use Windows XP on my main system, thanks to issues with my sound card, digital TV stick and a couple of legacy programs, I can’t think of anything that I would want to do on this laptop that Vista would create problems for. It is, after all, intended primarily for word processing on the go for my PhD, and the odd bit of Blu-ray watching and screen capturing. In any event, this install of Vista comes complete with the much-needed WinDVD BD for VAIO software, which I would have to pay for separately if I did my own install of Windows XP on the machine. By the way, the laptop comes with an HDMI output, supporting full 1080p video, which is yet another point in its favour as a Blu-ray device… although the fact that the sound card only supports 2-channel audio means that it isn’t exactly viable as a home cinema system (unless you have an HDMI-compliant AV receiver, in which case it may be possible to get the whole shibbang).
Oh, and I had a brief moment of panic when, popping in my Kingdom of Heaven Blu-ray disc, I was greeted by a message telling me that my player was not a Region A device and the disc could therefore not be played, but it turns out that, as with standard definition DVDs, Blu-ray drives and playback software allow you to change the region code a handful of times before becoming permanent, so it was a simple case of heading into WinDVD’s setup screen and changing my locality from “UK” to “USA”. Blu-ray playback seems to be reasonably solid in WinDVD, although I was disappointed to discover that it suffers from the chroma upsampling error (not sure whether this is an issue with the video card or the software, or both).
Unless I run into any problems, my aim is to be able to provide a few Blu-ray screen captures later tonight.