Sony NAS-SV20i Network Audio System/Server - Product Review

Sony NAS-SV20i Network Audio System/Server - Front View with Accessories
Sony NAS-SV20i Network Audio System/Server - Front View with Included Accessories. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to

Original Publish Date: 11/02/2011
With the increasing popularity of internet streaming, a host of new, and innovative, products have entered home entertainment landscape to take advantage of the abundance of audio and video content that is now available for consumers.

On this site, we have reported extensively on network media players and media streamers that are designed to bring all this content to your home theater.

However, there are also an increasing number of products that can not only be used with your home theater system but also stream content throughout the house.

One group of products centers around Sony's HomeShare technology. In this review, I take a look at the Sony NAS-SV20i Network Audio System/Server.

Features and Specifications

1. Digital Media Player (DMP), Digital Media Renderer (DMR), and Digital Media Server (DMS)

2. Wired (Ethernet/LAN) and Wireless (WPS compatible WiFi) Internet Connectivity.

3. DLNA Certified (ver 1.5)

4. Internet Radio Service Access: Qriocity, Slacker, vTuner

5. Built-in Dock for iPod and iPhone.

6. Party Stream function allows streaming sync-up with other compatible Sony Network devices, such as a powered Network Speaker, Blu-ray Disc Players, home theater systems, and home theater receivers.

7. External Audio Input: One Stereo Analog (3.5mm) for connection of additional source components, such as portable digital media players, CD, and Audio Cassette players, etc...

8. Headphone output.

9. Power Output: 10 watts x 2 (RMS)

10. Wireless Remote control provided. In addition, the NAS-SV20i is also compatible with Sony's HomeShare Univeral Remote Controller. Free iPod/iPhone/iPad remote control app also available

11. Dimensions (W/H/D) 14 1/2 x 5 7/8 x 6 3/4 inches (409 X 222 X 226 mm)

12. Weight: 4.4 lbs (3.3kg)

The Sony NAS-SV20i as a Media Player

The NAS-SV20i has the ability to play music streamed directly from the internet via the free vTuner internet radio service, and also from the Qriocity and Slacker subscription online music services.

The Sony NAS-SV20i as a Media Renderer

In addition to the ability to initiate play digital media access and playback of streaming content from the internet, the NAS-SV20i can also play back digital media files originating from a network connected media server, such as a PC or Network Attached Storage device, and can also be controlled by an external media controller, such as Sony's HomeShare Universal Remote Controller.

The Sony NAS-SV20i as a Media Server

In order to qualify as a media server, a network media player usually needs to incorporate a hard drive. However, the NAS-SV20i doesn't have a hard drive. So how can it serve as a media server? The way the NAS-SV20i works as a media server is actually pretty clever. When an iPod or iPhone is plugged in, the NAS-SV20i treats the iPod or iPhone as a temporary hard drive whose contents can not only be played directly, can also be streamed to other Sony ​homeshare-compatible devices, such as to one or more SA-NS400 Network Speakers.

Setup and Installation

Getting going with the Sony NAS-SV20i is not difficult, but it does require attention. It is necessary to check out both the quick start guide and user manual before proceeding with setup and installation. Sit down for a few minutes, kick back, and do a little reading.

Out of the box, you can access music from an iPod/iPhone, or plug in an external analog music source with any additional setup procedures. However, for internet and network streaming and server functions, there are additional steps.

In order to access the full capabilities of the Sony NAS-SV20i you have to make sure that you either have a wired or wireless internet router as part of your internet setup.

Although both wired and wireless network connection options are provided, wired is the easiest to set-up and provides the most stable signal. However, if the location of your router is some distance away, and it is wireless-capable, the wireless connection usually works fine. My suggestion, try the wireless option first, as it would end up being the most convenient for unit placement in your room or house. If unsuccessful, then use the wired connection option.

I am not going into all of the initial steps here that may be required for network setup, except to say that it is just like connecting any other network-enabled device. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the needed steps required so that the NAS-SV20i id able to find your home network (in the case of a wireless connection, finding the local access point - which would be your router) and the network also identifying the NAS-SV20i as a new addition and assigning its own network address.

From there, some of the additional identification and security steps may be performed automatically, but if not successful, you may have to enter some information manually using the remote control provided with the NAS-SV20i in combination with the LCD display on the front of the unit.

Once you have these above steps completed, you are now ready to access music streaming services. To do this, just press the function button on the remote and scroll to "music streaming services", from there select either vTuner or Slacker and select your desired music channel or station.

To access music from other network connected devices, such as your PC, you must perform an additional setup that requires that you have Windows Media Player 12 installed in your PC, if running Windows 7, or Windows Media Player 11 on your PC if running Windows XP or Vista. During the setup procedure, you will be adding the Sony NAS-SV20i to the list of devices on your home network that you wish to share files with (in this case music files).

Once all the appropriate internet and network setup procedures are completed, you can now take full advantage of what the Sony NAS-SV20i can do.


Getting a chance to use the Sony NAS-SV20i for several weeks, I found that it is certainly an interesting device. The NAS-SV20i basically does three things: It can play music directly from an iPod or iPhone via its built-in docking station, and also by portable music players (or even a CD player or Audio Cassette deck via its auxiliary audio input), it can stream music from the internet, and it can access music stored on other network devices, such as a PC.

However, one additional task it can perform separates it from a typical media player. Via an included feature call "Party Mode", the NAS-SV20i can also stream music from any of the above sources mentioned in the previous paragraph and send it out to one or more additional network compatible Sony devices simultaneously, such as the Sony SA-NS400 Network Speaker which was also sent to me for this review.

Using the NAS-SV20i in conjunction with several network speakers, you can play your music in several rooms at once - but they are all playing the same music.

However, each network speaker also has their own analog audio input for listening to music from a connected digital music player, CD player, or audio cassette deck. In other words, you can use the network speakers as a participant in the "Party" listening mode, you can use them independently via direct device connection.

Final Take

Despite the capabilities of the NAS-SV20i, there are some things that I didn't like. For one, when you turn the unit on it is not like a traditional radio or mini stereo system where the music starts coming in almost immediately. In the case of NAS-SV20i, it actually has to "boot up" every time it is turned on, similar to a PC. As a result, the time between you pushing the "ON" button on the unit or the remote it can take as long as 15-to-20 seconds before you hear any music from your connected sources.

The other thing that I noted is that for its price tag ($299 - recently reduced to $249), the plastic exterior looks kind of cheap, and the sound quality from the built-in speakers is lackluster. The NAS-SV20i does have a function called Dynamic Sound Generator X-tra (DSGX) that reinforces the bass and brings out the treble presence, but there is only so much sound you can get out of the unit's cabinet construction. In addition, the included LCD display is black and white. It would have been nice to include a larger, three or four color display that would make it not only more pleasing to the eye, but a little easier to navigate.

On the other hand, once the NAS-SV20i boots up, has a lot of additional capabilities that most network media players and media streamers don't have that make really fun to use.

I give top marks to Sony for innovation with the NAS-SV20i, especially the ability to stream music out to compatible wireless network speakers, but the long boot-up time, cheap-looking design, and so-so audio quality for the price brings down my overall rating somewhat.

NOTE: After a successful production run, Sony has discontinued the NAS-SV20i, and no longer makes a similar standalone product. However, many of its features have been incorporated into some of Sony's home theater receiver and Smart TV products, as well as into the Sony Playstation platform.

Also, for a look at currently available streaming devices that stream both audio and video from other brands, refer to my periodically updated list of Network Media Players and Media Streamers.

NOTE: Since the above review, Sony has incorporated the Qriocity music streaming service into the Sony Playstation Network.

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