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Multiroom Audio Goes Wireless With Sony HTiBs

Sony added wireless multiroom audio capability to home theater in a box (HTiB) systems for the first time in four Bravia models, which use proprietary 2.4GHz wireless RF technology to send music to up to four amplified speaker clients in other rooms.

The wireless technology, called S-AIR, also delivers audio wirelessly to rear surround speakers without interfering with other household devices. Sony previously used line-of-sight IR technology for wireless surround speakers.

Wireless audio can be transmitted from the main system in the living room up to 164 feet.

The four Bravia systems feature integrated five-disc DVD/SACD player with up-scaling to 1080p via HDMI, Sony’s Digital Media Port, and an included iPod cradle that connects to the Port to wirelessly stream music to the amplified-speaker clients, called S-AIR Air Stations. Additional accessories that connect to the Port include a Network Walkman player audio cradle, a Wi-Fi-equipped client to stream music from a PC and a Bluetooth adapter.

Music can be transmitted wirelessly from a docked iPod or Walkman, other connected sources, the DVD/SACD player, and the HTiB’s AM/FM tuner, but only one source can be transmitted wirelessly at a time. The HTiB will also play back one source through its speakers while simultaneously transmitting another source to the amplified speaker clients.

From a remote room, an S-AIR station can remotely control such basic HTiB functions as track up/down and pause/play but not disc selection. Sources can be selected remotely only when the system is in party mode, transmitting the same program to all Air Stations within the house.

The DAV-HDX576WF, due in March at an expected everyday retail of about $500, comes with one S-AIR Air Station receiver/speaker (AIR-SA10) and a wireless rear speaker kit (WAHT-SA10). The system features height-adjustable floorstanding speakers that match the style and height of Bravia televisions.

The DAV-HDX277WC, due in March at about $400, includes one Air Station receiver/speaker and the option to add a rear wireless speaker kit. The DAV-HDX279W includes the rear wireless speaker kit with an option to add S-AIR Air Station receiver/speakers for multiroom audio. It is also due in March for about $400.

The DAV-HDX275 system is S-AIR-Ready, so an optional wireless transmitter, rear wireless speaker kit, and Air Stations can be added. It ships in March at about $300.

The WAHT-SA10 wireless speaker kit will be available in March for about $149. AIR-SA10 Air Station receiver/speakers feature 8 watts of RMS power and an alarm clock function for about $120 when it ships in March.