Figuring that people would rather hide home theater components in the back of their TVs than somewhere else, or, God forbid, actually display them out in the open, Sony built into its recent Bravia LCD HDTVs the ability to accept modules that could bring additional functionality to the sets. Earlier this year, the company released its first one, the Bravia Internet Video Link, and now the electronics giant has introduced three new modules, including one that presages what will be an important trend for HDTVs.
The Bravia Wireless Link Module (DMX-WL1; pictured above) is designed to send video and audio signals to a Bravia TV without the need to hook up sources directly to the set. The module's receiver goes into the TV's back, while the wireless transmitter can accept five input sources (four HDMI, one component video) and has a range of 65 feet, so theoretically it doesn't need to be anywhere near the set. It's similar to Belkin's forthcoming FlyWire device, though the Belkin model can transmit 1080p HD sources, whereas the Sony can only handle up to 1080i video. If you have a compatible Bravia set and don't have a Blu-ray player, then you'll be pleased to know that the Wireless Link Module is several hundred dollars cheaper than the FlyWire, even if it's still pricey at $799.99. Sony says it will be available at the end of next month.
Less exciting, but more affordable, are the other two modules, both of which are available by the end of the month. The Bravia DVD Link Module (DMX-DVD), not surprisingly, adds a slot-loading upconverting DVD player; the surprise is that Sony isn't offering a Blu-ray version yet. For the convenience of having it rear-mounted to your TV, the $199.99 module is priced at more than double the cost of a conventional upconverting player.
If the array of inputs on your Bravia TV isn't sufficientand if so, I'd love to come over and check your home theater setup outSony is now letting you pay $149.99 to pile on more with the Bravia Input Link Module (DMX-SW1). It gives you four additional HDMI inputs in case you have multiple gaming consoles, disc players, and so on that you currently can't hook up over HDMI. Like the DVD Link Module, it's due at the end of the month.