updated 11:10 am EDT, Wed March 28, 2007
Sony GIGA JUKE
Sony's European branch today saw the introduction of the GIGA JUKE, a new digital-savvy bookshelf speaker set. Rarely available outside of Japan, the stereo includes its own 80GB hard disk and an LCD interface to both play and transfer ATRAC, MP3, or linear PCM audio diretly from the drive: owners can connect a PC or portable music player to copy unprotected songs over or bypass them entirely by ripping CDs at a fast 16X speed. Track titles are automatically applied to songs the hardware doesn't recognize, Sony says, and the system can intelligently auto-generate playlists based on artists, genres, or even the music's tempo.
The main GIGA JUKE system is the NAS-50HDE, a complete system with two 85-watt satellites and a DAB digital radio in the UK version; a more focused NAC-HD1E GIGA JUKE Deck is meant to connect only to existing speakers but steps up its internal hard drive space to 250GB for even more music. Sony plans to debut the 50HDE in mid-May for Europe and will follow quickly with the HD1E deck in June. Pricing should follow closer to the actual release and may be accompanied by news of a North American launch.