Sony TDM-BT1 Digital Media Port Bluetooth Interface
New to Sony's 2007 line of AV receivers and home-theater-in-a-box systems--with both its Bravia and component-based lines--is the Digital Media Port (or DMPort), a proprietary jack that offers connectivity to one of four optional accessories. The quartet of compatible add-ons include the TDM-NC1 (a Wi-Fi music streamer), the TDM-IP1 (an iPod dock), the TDM-NW1 (a dock for certain Sony Walkman MP3 models), and the TDM-BT1 (a Bluetooth adapter). By offering the adapters as optional accessories, Sony is theoretically keeping the cost of the main units down, but still is allowing users a "choose-your-own-adventure" option for the digital audio source of their choice.
The TDM-BT1 can stream audio from any nearby Bluetooth-enabled audio device--such as a cell phone or computer--so the music can be enjoyed on the big speakers of the compatible Sony audio system to which it's connected. Setup is about as simple as it gets: just plug in the BT1 to the Digital Media Port jack on the rear panel of the receiver or HTIB, and flip the audio system to the corresponding DMPORT input. Then pair the Bluetooth audio source to the TDM-BT1, and you should be in business.
The TDM-BT1 should be able to link up with any Bluetooth device that supports A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile). To connect, simply depress the OPR button on the BT1 to put it into pairing mode, and then lock into it from the source device (in our case, a Motorola Q smart phone loaded up with some MP3 music). It's the same process you'd use to pair your phone or music player to a set of Bluetooth headphones--you may simply need to enter a passcode (0000) to complete the process. Up to eight Bluetooth connections can be paired with the TDM-BT1; when you reach the ninth, the first of the original eight connections will be deleted.
The TDM-BT1 utilizes Bluetooth 2.0, which offers more audio bandwidth than earlier versions of the standard. Still, we were disappointed with the audio quality when we streamed music from the Q. The sound was very brittle and came in at a very low level (even with the Q's volume turned all the way up). That said, we didn't have any other Bluetooth-capable audio products, so it was unclear whether the phone or the TDM-BT1 was the source of the problem. Still, it was cool to be able to pick and choose songs from the Q's menu and have them immediately playing over the speakers attached to the STR-DG810 receiver.
If you've got a compatible Sony audio system and your primary music source is Bluetooth A2DP-enabled--say, something like the Sony Ericsson W850i--the TDM-BT1 certainly delivers on its promise of easy and convenient Bluetooth streaming. But at $80, it's a tough sell, especially when the Bluetooth-enabled Belkin TuneStage 2 will connect to any audio system (Sony or otherwise) and includes an iPod-specific Bluetooth transmitter for just $40 more. Plus, there are far cheaper (although wired) solutions that will definitely sound a lot better than what Bluetooth can offer.