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Sitting between the Music Server and Wireless Player and allowing for additional Wireless Players to be connected is the Giga Juke Wireless Station. Like the Music Server (with USB adapter) and Wireless Player it supports 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and as usual the wireless security standards up to WPA2. Regrettably there's no MiMo or 802.11n support, so you're somewhat limited by range - a theoretical maximum of 38 metres indoors compared to 70 metres on Draft-N. Neither do you benefit from the mesh network system used by Sonos, which makes each wireless unit into a repeater to boost range.
It does, however, feature a handy one-touch security and setup button and Ethernet ports on the back for connecting other wired devices to your media network. All the devices are DLNA compliant so will work seamlessly with other DLNA equipment, including some, but certainly not all, TVs, NAS boxes, PVRs and laptops - check the DLNA website for more info.
Having heaved all these items out of the box setup was remarkably straightforward. In fact, having expected at least a few gremlins, it took less than half an hour to get things up and running properly. We liked the fact that the speaker cables feature easy clip-on plugs at the amplifier end, which saved a lot of back aching fiddling about. We also liked the fact that the Music Server power supply is integrated, though both the Wireless Station and Player feature inline power supplies.
As you would reasonably expect there's a Quick Setup Guide included in the box and it made the process very clear. Once each of the separate units was connected up properly the Music Server and Wireless Player instantly recognised each other: job done. In this respect, then, Sony has got the end user experience pretty much spot-on and we can't envisage even a relative novice having too many problems provided they follow the instructions correctly.
Taking a look around the Music Server shows that connectivity isn't prodigious, though for most needs it should prove more than adequate. Alongside the two speaker outputs there's a stereo input made up of two RCA/phono jacks and this is followed by the proprietary Digital Media Port (DMPORT) for the provided iPod dock and other accessories - Sony also sells a Walkman compatible version for the usual extortionate price. Pedants might lament the lack of optical or coaxial digital connections but given the amplifier in the Giga Juke is restricted to stereo processing it's a less pressing issue.
Below these connections are the antenna inputs for FM, AM and DAB radio. It's great to see a full selection of radio services (Internet radio is also supported); though the cacophony of different antennas is something we could definitely do without!
Staying at the back for the moment, there are three further connections: a USB port, an Ethernet port and a Composite video output. Ethernet can be used for wired connection to the Wireless Station (if that's not too great an oxymoron) and there's a cable for this included, while the USB port can be used for connecting the Wireless Adapter, portable hard drive or other media players whose contents can be copied to the hard disk. You'll probably need that video output, too - we'll explain why in a moment.