You've heard of home-theater-in-a-box--products that pack everything you need for home surround sound into one package. Sony has one-upped that idea with the RHT-G1000, which could best be described as home-theater-in-a-TV-stand. The system consists of a multichannel surround-sound speaker system--which is molded directly into the equipment rack--and an A/V receiver/amplifier breakout box. Just plop your TV on top, add a DVD player into the mix, and you're ready to go. Unlike its larger predecessor--the $1,500 Sony RHT-G2000 was designed to support big-screen rear-projection TVs--the smaller RHT-G1000 is intended to complement Sony's line of Bravia flat-panels.
The RHT-G1000 offers the same basics you'd get from other home-theater systems with more traditional form factors: it can decode Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, and includes a decent number of connections for your A/V gear--two component-video inputs and one output; three A/V inputs and one output; four optical digital audio inputs; three coaxial digital inputs; and four analog audio inputs. The RHT-G1000 houses four speakers and a subwoofer, but if you don't want to be limited to the virtual-surround option to simulate rear speakers, you can connect two of your own for a more palpable surround effect. Of course, we're guessing prospective RHT-G1000 owners hate wires, and will prefer to live with the stealthed front speakers instead.
The Sony RHT-G1000 will be available in October for about $1,300. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the Onkyo CB-SP1200, which is the only other integrated TV stand/speaker system we've seen, aside from the sibling Sony model mentioned above. The Onkyo lacks a receiver/amplifier, but it retails for $600--less than half of the Sony offering.