We’ve seen some seriously small home cinema systems in recent years, but none have topped Sony’s DAV-IS10. Its speakers are billed as ‘golf ball-sized’ and, while they aren’t spherical or dimpled, it’s a reasonably accurate description.
As a convenient all-in-one system, the DAV-IS10 comes with a built-in DVD player – but if you’ve already got one or another player like a PS3, that’s something of a waste.
This is where the HT-IS100 comes in: it lacks the disc player but with the five speakers and a sub that houses a powerful amplifier, it’s designed as a central hub for your home cinema system.
Home cinema hub
Thanks to the three HDMI inputs you can hook up a PS3, Sky HD box and Blu-ray player, then connect the subwoofer to your TV via HDMI, and you’ll get both surround sound and HD pictures all going through the HT-IS100. Nice and neat.
While all the speakers are wired, setup is a snap thanks to the built-in calibration technology. Connect up the supplied microphone, place it where you’ll be sitting and hit a button and after 30 seconds of weird bleeping, you’ll have the speaker distances and levels automatically set for you.
Surround sound wise, the system is compatible with standard 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and DTS surround, but isn’t able to decode top-level lossless audio from a Blu-ray player. Lossless isn’t totally off the cards, though – if your player can decode it to LPCM, you can squirt it through to the HT-IS100 via HDMI.
Micro speakers, massive sound
So how’s the sound? Well, thankfully the micro speakers don’t mean micro audio – they deliver clear, decent quality surround effects and sparkling dialogue from the centre channel while the sub pumps out a super-sized slice of low-end grunt.
The satellites don't quite deliver the richness and presence of some rival systems, but given the size and pricing (around £400 if you shop around) it's still a mighty impressive showing.
If you're used to listening to tinny, bass-free two-channel audio from your telly's built-in speakers then the improvement the Sony brings will have you thinking your ears have been given a clean with a high-pressure jet hose. Which is a good thing.