updated 09:20 am EDT, Mon March 10, 2008
Sony GIGA JUKE
Sony today expanded its still fledgling GIGA JUKE line of stereos outside of Japan with two models built to almost entirely replace a computer as well as traditional stereos for digital audio. The SC55PKE (shown) is the first small audio system from Sony to promise a full multi-room setup while also storing a large range of music: its main unit holds up to 80GB of ATRAC, MP3, WMA music ripped from CDs (up to 16X) or other sources but supplies both a wireless adapter and dedicated control unit to listen to the system with separate speakers in another room. As many as five areas can be served from one hub, Sony says.
It also includes a full 4.3-inch LCD that allows users to manage all aspects of managing music, which includes playing iPods from the built-in iPod connector as well as loading up Walkman players directly from the GIGA JUKE itself. The system puts out 100W of sustained power across its default speakers and also supports AM, DAB, FM, and Internet radio with timed recording; the satellite control unit can also serve as an Internet radio independently of the main hub.
The E35HD serves as a one-room equivalent with a few key differences. It stores the same 80GB but swaps ATRAC in favor of the more universal AAC standard; it also rips CDs more slowly at 4X and outputs sound at a lower 60W. Both this and the SC55PKE should be available soon, though exact dates, pricing, and releases are unavailable. The systems have so far been announced only for Europe.