Tired of peddling reasonable hi-fi separates, partially-crippled versions of the PS3 and iPod-eclipsed DAPs, Sony has turned its sights on the lucrative home installation market. For anything from $10k to $50k, including installation, you can choose from the company’s high-end range of rack-mounted sources and multi-room distributed audio and video. Seemingly the pinnacle of the range is the NHS-3030, which aside from being named after the British health service looks to be pretty good: an ES A/V receiver manages six sources and ferries them round to up to six different rooms in your house.
Coming as standard with a 400-disc DVD changer, you can also choose from XM satellite radio receivers, additional DVD players (perhaps SACD if you’ve actually bought an SACD disc). A further three spaces in the rack leaves room for later expansion.
Control is handled by on-screen menus displayed on whichever TV or HD flatpanel you’ve got hooked up, as well as a combination of handheld LCD remotes and in-wall touchscreens. Authorised engineers will come to your house, wire everything up and leave it all neat’n'tidy, allowing you to get on with the arduous task of being indecently confused by all your new entertainment options.
If the NHS-3030 is a little out of your price range, there are cheaper options to be had. The NHS-2030 and NHS-1030 have similar capabilities to the range-topper, while the NHS-330 is more suited to smaller flats with three room distribution and just three sources in the rack.
Sony will also happily sell you their new Sposato in-wall speakers and subwoofer, all acoustically-matched and directionally-tweakable. If you get into too much confusion there’s a toll-free support line and in-home diagnostics for customers, and if need be they’ll swap-out a broken component for a replacement one. The range will be available in Spring 2007.