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Sony slims component HTIB system

The Sony HT-SS360 is a mainstream component-based home-theater system with a slim design.

The Sony HT-SS360 component system is slimmer than previous efforts, down to its center-channel speaker. Sony

When seemingly every home theater system is shrinking its number of speakers or doing away with rear speakers altogether, full component systems like the Sony HT-SS360 are getting ever more rare. But full in terms of speaker complement doesn't have to mean bulky.

With all all six speakers--slim center, left front, right front, surround right, surround left, and subwoofer--joining a central AV receiver, the HT-SS360 is aimed squarely at the mainstream, selling for $350 when it hits shelves in May. Styling is reminiscent of the company's BDP-S360 and BDP-S560 Blu-ray players, also announced at the show. The slim A/V receiver is a nice departure from the fatter units in current Sony component HTIBs like the HT-DDWG700.

The new HT-SS360, rated at 1,000 total watts, can handle the video capabilities of Blu-ray players since its three HDMI inputs are compatible with both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 sources. Its audio is limited to LPCM for Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master soundtracks, so your BD player must decode those high-resolution formats itself if you want to hear them via the system.

Sony also throws in a calibration routine, a nice touch on an HTIB at this level, as well as a DM port, which allows you to connect one of four proprietary accessories, which range in price from $80 to $200: the TDM-NC1 (a Wi-Fi music streamer), the TDM-BT1 (a Bluetooth adapter), the TDM-NW1 (a dock for certain Sony Walkman MP3 models), and the TDM-IP50 (an iPod dock).