Living rooms are dangerous places. They are the front line in the wars between form and function, and most gadget lovers will have engaged in running battles about how much technology is acceptable in this social no-mans land: how big your TV can be, how many boxes you need beneath it and, more than anything, how many speakers it's acceptable to place around the room.
The rise of one-box surround speaker systems has made it harder to argue for proper surround set-up. Fortunately, are other ways to tackle the problem.
One of the most memorable demonstrations I witnessed on my tour of Sony's Tokyo HQ was a new Blu-ray home-cinema-in-a-box package with five speakers that look like overgrown matchsticks. Despite being only a couple of centimetres deep and wide, and containing vertical-coil drivers that are little bigger than a finger, the speakers deliver the sort of immersive surround sound tat one-box systems simply can't match.
The system is officially called Sony BDV-IT1000 but has been dubbed the 'Pocky' after the Japanese matchstick-shaped, chocolate-dipped biscuits. As well as being extraordinarily thin and delicious looking, the system has other peacekeeping features: wireless rear speakers mean less cable clutter, wallmounts, floorstands and desktop stands are included in the box, and the shiny main box twin HDMI inputs allow you to plug in your console and satellite box without having to upgrade your TV.
The BDV-IT1000 should be bringing peace to UK lounges before Christmas. It'll cost around £1500, and we'll have a full review very soon.