updated 01:45 pm EDT, Wed October 10, 2007
Sony Marine Receivers
Sony on Wednesday released a series of audio receivers targeted at boaters looking for the same music experience at sea as in their cars. To that end, the H905IP (shown) is one of the first of its kind to include a native iPod dock connector with direct control: a user in the boat's cockpit can navigate menus and recharge most iPods directly from the head-end, letting them tuck the Apple player safely away from where it might be splashed by water. It also offers support for optional HD Radio and satellite radio tuners as well as a rear auxiliary input jack. Unlike most receivers, the top-end model is deliberately designed to resemble the equipment found in a typical boat and includes oversized buttons for shuffling tracks and other common music tasks. It should be available for $350 in February.
Its next-closest equivalent, the M50IP, adopts a more familiar single-DIN slot shape like a car's head-end but still includes a panel to protect against drips and a coating that prevents leaks from shorting out the internal circuitry. It shares the iPod and digital radio linkups but adds an aux-in port at the front for other music players. It launches at the same time as the H905IP for $200.
Two basic versions of the M50IP's design will also be available, according to Sony. The M30 and M10 shed the hardening against rough-weather damage; the M30 keeps iPod and digital radio support while the M10 focuses on CDs with AAC, MP3, and WMA support as well as the aux-in connection. The M10 and M30 will be available for $130 and $170 when they arrive during the same February release window. Two Remote Commander controllers for navigating music beyond the cockpit will be available simultaneously for $100 and $130 each, though Sony did not list the advantages of the higher-end RM-X55M model versus the lower-end RM-X11M.
M30 (M10 similar)