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Sony HT-IS100: Home-theater system with supertiny speakers coming to America

The Sony HT-IS100 is a home-theater surround-sound system with five speakers that are only about the size of a golf ball.

Sony HT-IS100 speaker as compared with a strawberry.
The HT-IS100 uses the same petite speakers found on 2007's DAV-IS10. Sony

Sony's HT-IS100, a 5.1-channel home-theater system that includes five speakers that are just 1.7 inches in diameter, will be coming to the U.S. next month. If it looks familiar, there are two reasons: The unit was announced for the Japanese market just a couple of weeks ago, and the tiny speakers were first featured in 2007's DAV-IS10, which is still widely available. (Fun fact: Sony calls the speakers "roughly the size of a golf ball" in its press release--an adjective that nearly everyone who covered the IS10 lazily cribbed. The company uses the same golf ball wording in the IS100 press release--but, oddly, included the strawberry photo above.)

Unlike that earlier model, the new HT-IS100 doesn't have a built-in disc player, or even a "head unit"--all of the electronics and amplifiers are consolidated into the system's subwoofer, so there's no need for a separate AV receiver. The IS100 includes three HDMI inputs--so you can toggle among up to three high-def AV sources--a built-in AM/FM radio, and Sony's DCAC autocalibration system. Like most other current Sony audio systems, the IS100 features compatibility with a variety of proprietary Sony accessories, including the S-AIR Air Station speakers (for expanding the audio to a multiroom setup) and Sony's quartet of Digital Media Port accessories. Those who want to eliminate the front-to-back speaker cables can opt for the WAHT-SA10 wireless kit (sold separately).

Sony HT-IS100

When the DAV-IS10 was announced, we expressed skepticism that such small speakers could deliver anything but thin sound. But perhaps we were too quick to judge: By and large, IS10 users on both CNET and Amazon give the product high marks. And we were pleasantly surprised by the Sony HT-CT100, which delivered an impressively beefy sound despite its miniscule soundbar (like the IS100, the subwoofer houses the amp, electronics, and jack pack).

The Sony DAV-IS100 will be available in July for $700.