Sony unveiled its vision for the future, at what is
rapidly becoming its European HQ on Potzdamer Platz in Berlin. It
kicked off with the announcement that the company is following the
success of its Sony credit card with a move into global banking,
smoothing e-commerce and future entertainment technologies.
an eye to that, it laid out how it sees MiniDisc coexisting with its
Memory Stick solid-state memory system: while Memory Stick, with its
high capacity but relatively high cost, will be a transfer medium
for getting music from PC to home system for example, MiniDisc will
continue as the personal medium of choice for many users.
is also a range of other options: Sony's mobile communications
division showed a clutch of combination mobile
phone/computer/personal stereo concepts. It's all part of the
company's new corporate image - based around the slogan 'Go Create'
- emphasising the interconnectivity of everything from PCs to
camcorders to music and home video set-ups, using the Sony i-Link
Using the Firewire/IEEE1394 combined data/signal transfer
protocol, i-Link is found in many of Sony's new products, not least
of which is the Lissa audio system shown in prototype form in
Berlin. This has conventional phono inputs and outputs, for
connection to external components, but the hook-up between the
system's receiver, CD player and MiniDisc deck is purely by i-Link,
carrying both audio signals in digital form and all the control
data. Plug in another i-Link component and the system will recognise
it, and the whole thing could also be linked to one of the company's
Vaio notebook computers for control purposes.
The Lissa system
will be available in the shops in time for Christmas this year. It
can be partnered with Sony's Pascal speakers, and a spokesman
wouldn't rule out a digital version of the speakers, so the whole
system could be hooked up with i-Link.
On the more conventional
hi-fi front, Sony strengthened its commitment to the SACD format
with demonstrations of its SCD-XB940 player, which is part of the
mainstream QS range. It should be in the shops soon with a £550
price tag, and will be partnered by two integrated amplifiers
designed to handle the wide frequency and dynamic ranges of SACD. It
gets tested in our July issue.
To boost the appeal of DVD, Sony has not only new
standalone players, but also the DAV-S300, a combined DVD
player/Dolby Digital/dts receiver and speaker package, all for a
staggering £550. The slimline main unit uses digital amplification
to ensure its trim dimensions, while set-up is simplified by the use
of colour-coded plugs and sockets. We test it in July's issue of