Sony has given its "Bose killer" a makeover for 2006. At first glance, the DAV-X1V appears little different than 2005's receivers and home-theater systems--and a five-disc slot-loading DVD/CD/SACD player, as compared to the single-disc tray found on the older DAV-X1. Furthermore, the X1V boasts updated styling, with the subwoofer, the speakers, and the central head unit (which houses the receiver and disc player) all getting a makeover. There's also a front-panel minijack input for quick hookups to your iPod--or anything else with a headphone jack. And the DAV-X1V is keeping its predecesor's HDMI output, which can upscale DVDs to 720p and 1080i resolutions on compatible HDTVs.: it's a petite virtual-surround system that uses a sexy 2.1 design--two speakers and a subwoofer--to synthesize a surround effect. But the X1V includes at least two new tricks for the new year: it offers automated speaker calibration--the same function found on nearly all of Sony's 2006
The good looks and small size of the DAV-X1V will cost you a cool $1,000 when it hits store shelves in August, but that's the same price at which the X1 launched--it's since dropped to $800. We liked the DAV-X1 well enough, so it'll be interesting to see how the new features and improved styling of the DAV-X1V changes the mix. As usual, though, the goal posts have moved. Unlike last year, when it was hard to find 2.1 systems for less than $1,000, there's now at least one alternative--the --that's available for just $400.