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Blu-ray & RHT-G800 TV stand

BDP-S1E Blu-ray player

Sony’s first Blu-ray player to hit Europe looks set to be stiff competition for the likes of the Panasonic DMP-BD10 with all the standard boxes ticked – HDMI, standard def upscaling, uncompressed PCM audio support, etc. However there isn’t a full list of specifications available yet so, once again, we’ll have to wait until we get a sample for review before we can truly judge.

Of course Sony's Blu-ray baby will support 24p True Cinema and Theatre Sync technologies, which should be welcome additions for those of us wanting a full Sony home cinema setup.

RHT-G800 TV stand

One of the more interesting products of the event was the RHT-G800 TV stand, which Gordon talked about here, that integrates a full 5.1 surround sound system - the receiver/amplifier and speakers are all built into the bulk of the stand. Surround sound is then achieved by an emulation technology called S-Force PRO Front Surround, rather than having cables trailing across the room for your rear speakers. Unlike most virtual surround sound systems, though, S-Force doesn’t use wall reflection technology so the G800 can be placed anywhere in any room and still give the full surround effect. The effect is optimised for viewing the screen at the intended distance so if you sit too far away or too close you may miss out. Thankfully you can turn the effect off if you are just listening to music.

Once again we were given a brief demonstration of this technology in action and I can confirm that the effect was quite impressive. However, we were in an ideally sized rectangular room with the TV flat against one wall so I can’t vouch for how good it will sound in odd shaped/sized rooms.

The stand includes Theatre Sync so, if you couple it with other Sony Home Cinema equipment (or just other CEC kit), you have a one touch home cinema system. Other features include multiple HDMI and auxiliary audio connections and vibration cancelling subwoofers, which reduce the amount of vibration passing through your floors and walls while still giving you as full a bass sound as possible.

Finally, there’s the single most important aspect of a device like this, its looks. This stand is meant for those that care more about ease of use and good looks than necessarily having the best of the best sound, so it’s imperative that it looks good. Thankfully Sony has not let itself down and the RHT-G800 is stunning.

The RHT-G800 should be available from May onwards and is likely to cost around £600.

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