If multi-room audio sounds like a cool idea to you, you'd be right. It is cool: very darn cool. It isn't, however, cheap. For instance, you can get the Sonos BU150 bundle for £699. but you're still going to have to buy some speakers for one room and have an existing stereo system in the other. Meanwhile, the Logitech Squeezebox Duet will set you back £280 before you even start to think about the equipment you'll need to go with it. These, then, are best suited to discerning technophiles/audiophiles and on the more extreme end of the spectrum one could get a custom install, but this is even less of a reality for normal folk than the Sonos' and Squeezeboxes of this world.
Help is at hand, though, in the shape of all-in-one systems from likes of Philips and today's contender, Sony. We're looking at the Sony Giga Juke NAS-SC55PKE Multi-Room package and though not strictly an all-in-one - unlike the Philips Streamium WACS7500 its speakers are separate - it does include everything you need for a multi-room setup.
Indeed, if its £559 asking price may still sound like a lot of money, when you consider you are getting absolutely everything you need to enjoy music in more than one room, a fully featured stereo hi-fi with amplifier and speakers, plus what is effectively an 80GB NAS box, the value is clear for anyone to see.
Perhaps it is best we start with exactly what you get in the box, since there is lot stuff in there. At the centre of it all is the Giga Juke Music Server that houses the 80GB HDD (63GB Free), the integrated stereo amplifier and the accompanying speakers. This set can be bought separately as the Giga Juke NAS-S55HDE and would set you back around £400.
Naturally enough it comes with all the usual accessories such as a remote control (batteries included), antennas for the integrated FM, AM and DAB radio tuners, speaker ccables as well as speaker pads. In addition there's a Digital Media Port iPod dock that plugs into the back, a USB Wireless Adapter and extender cable to enable wireless networking. It's a shame this isn't integrated, as it is on the Philips Streamium WACS7500, but it's likely a symptom of the unit being sold separately as a non-wireless system as well.
In this package the Music Server is joined by the Giga Juke Wireless Player NAS-C5E. Like the Music Server it can be purchased separately, this time for around the £200 mark, to add extra rooms to your setup. You also get a remote control with batteries supplied and unlike the Music Server the wireless element is thankfully integrated.