FM flight: In the old days, listening to the radio meant turning a dial and hunting out a few signals amid waves of static. FM stations in particular have moved beyond such primitiveness, but it is on the Internet that radio has made its greatest strides. Internet radio is one of the less obvious features Sony brings to the table in the form of its new NAS-V7M all-in-one dock station. The device includes the vTuner and SHOUTcast applications. Once set up with an Internet connection, the NAS-V7M can receive more than 7,000 radio stations from all over the world. The stations cover more than 50 genres, some 120 countries and 50 languages. Helping to sort through the plethora of choices are more than 500 schedules. The music plays through a pair of 7.5-W speakers encased in a curvaceous device that does no harm to Sony’s reputation for style.
The NAS-V7M stands out from the ranks of iPod docks in that it is built to work with Sony’s own digital media player, the Walkman. A Walkman fits snuggly into the upper left side of the dock. It includes 16 gigabytes of internal memory, good for up to 230 hours of audio, and can rip a CD straight into an MP3 file, at 128 or 256 kps. It supports MP3, WMA and AAC files for playback, both CD and CD-DA, and has a DLNA connection. Its unusual design is reflected in its dimensions of 425 mm in width with a height of 214 mm and depth of 194 mm. It weighs in at 3.6 kg. A less well-featured sibling, the NAS-V5 does without the internal memory. The pair are coming out June 26 with color choices of silver or gold for the V7M and black or pink for the V5. The NAS-V7M will cost ¥49,800 and the NAS-V5 will cost ¥39,800. www.sony.jp/system-stereo/products/
Free to air TV: DLNA is not yet a must-have feature for high-definition televisions, nor do all sets pack Wi-Fi capability in their digital innards. One effect of such “shortcomings” is that hooking up a computer to such a TV requires old-style physical connection via cable. This is more inconvenient than it might seem as it makes it hard to have the pair in separate rooms and thus cramps the operation. The value of connecting the computer to the TV is that it lets the computer user take advantage of a bigger and better screen. EzAir is catering to this need with its EZR601AV. Simply plug the device’s USB dongle into a computer and hook up the compact base station to your TV to create a wireless connection between the two. You can then play videos and music, and display photos, stored on your computer on the TV. The base, looking like a mini black tower and with a hand-size footprint, includes a HDMI output to get the most out of the high-definition ability of your set. It also has an analog PC jack for TVs deprived of a HDMI input. The bonus in the package is its ability to work with computers, using the Intel ATOM processors, which are the mainstays of most netbooks. More than other computers these shrunken laptops benefit from projecting visual content on to the bigger screens of high-definition TVs. The EzAir device works with Windows operating systems, but snubs Macs. It is out now for ¥13,800.
People who want to stream content to their TVs, have Windows computers and prefer something smaller to do this with will find the EzAir a contender, and it’s price makes it worth a look. Netbook owners in particular may like it, but such devices only make sense if you want to do plenty of streaming and dislike cables. www.ezair.jp
Small-scale radio: Toshiba takes a distinctly different and more compact approach to radio in the form of its TY-SDP7. Rather than embellishing its audio abilities, the “Cutebeat” is a small digital photo frame that incorporates an FM radio tuner and a pair of small 0.5-W speakers. The photo frame has a 3.5-inch LCD screen with 320 × 240 dot QVGA resolution. Photos can be displayed from SD or SDHC memory cards. It works with cards that are up to 16 gigabytes in capacity. The device supports the JPEG photo format and can also play MP3 audio files. It is a compact 100 × 70 × 96 mm and weighs a flimsy 250 grams. The little Toshiba can work as an alarm clock but its mobility is a tad crimped as it needs to always run off mains power. The unit came on the market last week and costs around ¥9,000. However, the audio ability of the TY-SDP7 is too basic to satisfy anything but brief listening needs. tlet.co.jp/pro_av/audiophoto