Exciting news from the European front. A few months back, we showed off the latest Bravia speaker system from Sony, the HT-IS100, originally only available in Japan. Now Sony has that, plus two more complete systems for the European market.
The two other systems mimic the look, but each has its own advantages.
The DAV-IS50 uses speakers that are similar to the HT-IS100, but adds a slot-loading DVD/CD/MP3 player, along with an AM/FM tuner. The DAV-IS50 will upconvert standard def DVD to 1080p. We love the touch sensor controls that remain hidden until your hand moves over the sensors. Very elegant, if you're into that sort of thing. The system provides 450 watts of power. Since most of the midrange will be coming from the subwoofer unit, sub placement is more of an issue with these systems than you'll usually encounter. An automatic calibration system will make sure you're setting it up properly. Wireless rear speakers make it even easier to hide the tiny tots anywhere in a room.
The other system is a bit more interesting. The HTD-890IS uses the same speaker technology from the DAV-IS50 but adds a 160GB HDD, DVD recorder, and built-in TV tuners — analog and digital. That means it's capable of recording up to 455 hours of TV internally. It also has optional wireless rear speakers. It has two USB ports for JPEG images, and one-touch dubbing from a camcorder to the internal HDD.
The prices on these new systems aren't available yet, and we can only hope they start selling stateside soon. —Leslie Shapiro
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