Back in November of last year, our U.K. sister blog reported that JVC would be releasing, virtual surround home-theater systems that also featured streaming media capabilities in a couple of the models. Well, word is that one of those systems, the Sophisti DD-3 is actually shipping--or about to ship--in the U.S. It carries a list price of $999.95 and seems semi-intriguing on paper.
JVC calls the 3.1-speaker system, "A new type of home theater system, featuring a Network Media Player that serves as the nerve center of the home entertainment set up, allowing consumers to retrieve music files, movies, digital images and other digital files stored on their computer. In keeping with the system's ease-of-use concept, the DD-3 features JVC front surround technology, so there's no need for rear speakers and the placement problems they often create. The DD-3 is designed to complement the latest generation of flat panel TVs, with a sleek, low-profile main unit and slim, elegantly designed speakers." The speakers can be used with the included stands or be mounted to a wall. A 6.5-inch powered subwoofer ships with the unit.
With USB hosting on board, you can directly access files from portable media players, USB card readers, and digital cameras. Alas, there's no built-in WiFi, only an Ethernet connection, so in order to wirelessly stream MP3, WMA, WAV, MPEG-4, JPEG, and DivX files over your network, you'll have to attach a wireless Ethernet bridge. Powerline Ethernet adapters are another option to tap into your LAN. You can connect directly to your router, but most people don't keep their routers in their living rooms.
According to the release, the network media player is also DLNA-certified (Digital Living Network Alliance), which means that files can be accessed from other DLNA-compliant devices. The DD-3 also has 720p upscaling capablities, via its HDMI output.
Impressively, JVC avoided using the word "sophisticated" anywhere its press release. We look forward to giving the system a spin when we get our review sample soon.