Sony has taken the wraps off of a new line of streaming audio products, dubbed "Altus." The four debut products will be available exclusively through Best Buy, and the retailer also had a hand in their development. All of the products use Sony's proprietary S-Air wireless technology to communicate with one another, which means that other S-Air-compatible products--including many of Sony's recent home theater and home audio systems--can stream audio to the Altus products.
Sony ALT-SA31iR ($700): This multi-room system includes three components: an
dock plus two wireless speakers (for listening to the iPod audio in
separate rooms). Each component also has a separate built-in FM radio.
While the ALT-SA31 looks to be a refresh of the Sony AIR-SA20PK with a
slicker design, the new model also includes a remote control with an
LCD that offers the iPod's playback info (song, artist, album, etc.),
so you're not navigating blindly from another room.
Sony ALT-SA32PC ($500)
This system transmits wireless audio from a PC (via a USB dongle) to two speaker systems that can reside in different rooms.
Sony ALT-SA33PC ($200)
Similar to the previous system, the
ALT-SA33PC transmits audio from a PC USB dongle to a small wireless
receiver. The receiver doesn't have built-in speakers, so it needs to
be connected to a separate amp or boom box.
Sony ALT-SA34R ($350)
This so-called "Socket Speaker Package"
is an S-Air-enabled set of powered speakers. Like the ALT-SA31iR, it
includes an LCD remote for accessing iPods or PC music based in other rooms.
Sony AIR-SW10Ti ($400):
This iPod/iPhone speaker dock is
packaged with a wireless subwoofer. The speaker dock also includes an
FM radio and can act as a transmitter to other S-Air products.
Sony BDV-E500W ($800)
The previously released Sony BDV-E500W Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box is one of several S-Air-compatible home theater systems that can interface with Altus products. We did a full review of the BDV-E500W, which includes wireless rear speakers in the package.