updated 03:40 pm EST, Tue January 8, 2008
Sony iPod-ready stereos
Sony's CES announcements are continuing with several new sound systems, most of which are in some fashion compatible with the iPod. The first two are shelf-based stereos, the CMT-BX20i and the CMT-BX50BTi. These feature docks inlaid directly into the main body, which in addition to piping out audio and recharging the battery, allow distant control of an iPod via the included remote control. The BX20i has an AM/FM radio and a single-disc, MP3-compatible CD player, which displays ID3 tags when available; total RMS power is 50W. It will be ready in February for $130.
The BX50BTi expands on the former with support for Bluetooth streaming, enabling A2DP-ready devices to receive audio, though not send it in return. It should also ship in February, at a cost of $180.
The new MHC-EC98Pi, EC78Pi and EC68Pi hi-fis feature the same variety of radio, CD player and iPod control, but add to this Sony's Digital Media Port technology, which allows users to connect Walkmen, Bluetooth devices and audio streamed through Wi-Fi. The systems produce between 140 and 530W of power, and will cost between $130 and $200; the EC68Pi is shipping in May, while its siblings will arrive in May.
Sony is also introducing two new HD Radio clock systems, the XDR-F1HD and S10HDiP. Beyond charging and playing iPods, the latter radio supports iTunes Tagging, which copies track information from HD Radio to an iPod, and then later identifies the tracks so they can be bought through the iTunes Store. The F1HD will ship in March for $100, while the S10HDiP will arrive sometime in the summer for $180.
The one non-iPod product in Sony latest news is the LBT-ZUX9, a party audio system that includes four subwoofer-equipped speakers, producing a total of 1,000W of RMS power. It has twin cassette decks and a three-disc CD changer, and also supports USB recording and playback, plus various audio effects such as flangers, delays and beat-blending. On top of this, built-in lighting effects can be synchronized with other gear such as disco balls. The ZUX9 will be available next month for $800.