Sony's wireless streaming boombox: the wi-fi hi-fi
June 28, 2007 If your PC holds your master music collection, you've either got to listen directly to the speakers it's connected to, or transfer tunes onto a portable device. But what if you just want to head out to the front porch, or spend some time working in the garage? Sony's got an answer: the VAIO WA1 is a wireless boombox that streams music from your PC to anywhere around the house. The WA1 is compatible with SonicStage, iTunes, Windows Media Player and suitable for Internet radio... And it looks pretty sexy, too.
“When it comes to entertainment content, and specifically music, people are moving quickly to a digital and PC-centric environment,” said Hiro Ishikawa, Senior Product Manager for VAIO at Sony Australia. “The VAIO WA1 offers a tech-savvy, stylish way to listen to your digital music collection, while ensuring you don’t compromise on the sound quality.”
Compatible with ATRAC, MP3, WMA and AAC music formats, the WA1 streams digital music virtually anywhere in the house via an existing wireless home network or a peer-to-peer wireless connection with the included USB wireless network adaptor. The WA1 is compatible with all VAIO and non-VAIO PCs and can be managed with various music applications including SonicStage, iTunes and Windows Media Player.
As well as being able to stream wirelessly from a PC, the WA1 is designed like a modern-day “boombox” and is semi-portable, offering up to four hours of battery life. Integrating 128MB of onboard RAM, the WA1 stores about one CD’s worth of music. Additionally, the WA1 is geared to stream the popular emerging audio technology of Internet radio and has a line-in stereo input for portable audio device connectivity.
An analogue audio out port and an S/PDIF digital out port also allow you to connect to your home stereo system as well. Alternatively, you can listen through the built-in headphone jack to keep the music all to yourself.
The eight-watt stereo speakers are a decent step up from a set of PC speakers, and the unit's six-band graphic equalizer and audio sound amplifiers and enhancers help deliver a quality sound.
The Digital Music Streamer also comes with a remote control and touch-screen sensor. A five-line LCD and on-unit controls make it easy to view and manage artists, song titles and Internet radio stations. Sony has also built in an alarm clock that can wake you up with your latest tunes.
The VAIO WA1 will be available very soon at a RRP of around US$350, which seems pricey for a wireless speaker set, but it might be worth it considering it's an all-in-one solution.