In all the brouhaha of Sony's announcements on Blu-ray burners and Internet-connected TV, it's easy to miss the real news from the technology giant at CES: the unveiling of four new single-DIN stereo head units. Following the trend to USB inputs we've seen elsewhere, three of Sony's new stereos come with USB 2.0 ports built into the faceplates. Although, unlike new stereos we have seen this week from Pioneer, the Sony players will only play back files from a thumbdrive or from a digital walkman (not from iPods, Zunes, or other digital music players, according to the Sony rep here). The top-of-the-line product in the new lineup is the CDX-GT81UW, which, along with its USB capabitility, plays MP3s, has an auxilliary input jack, and 4-volt front, rear, and sub preamp outputs.
The more basic GT710 is similar in appearance (we don't have an image for it--you'll just have to believe us), featuring the same motorized faceplate as the GT81UW, but it comes without either the preamp outputs or the USB port.
The nonmotorized CDX-GT610Ui offers the most connectivity options: in addition to a USB port and a generic aux-in jack, it comes with a 30-pin iPod connector, transferring all of the iPod's control functions to buttons on the faceplate. The entry-level CDX-GT410U boasts only an aux-input and will not play MP3 discs.
All four of the head units can be connected to separate modules for XM or Satellite radio, and each is compatible with Sony's XA-110IP iPod adapter.