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Sony Adds 3D Passthrough, Audio Return Channel To AVRs

3/10/2010 08:31:00 AM Eastern
SAN DIEGO — Four new A/V receivers (AVR) in Sony’s mainstream component- audio line include the company’s fi rst AVR with HDMI 1.4 3D passthrough and fi rst AVRs with HDMI 1.4’s audio return channel (ARC).

The company is also reducing the price of AVRs with built-in decoding of all Bluray surround formats to an everyday $300 from $400 and HDMI repeater function to $230 from $300.

Like last year, 1080p up-scaling of analog- video sources continues to start at $400, and $300 remains the opening price point for AVRs with wireless second-zone audio capability. With the additional of a proprietary S-Air wireless transmitter, the $300+ receivers send audio from connected sources such as iPods to tabletop amplifi ed speaker systems in up to 10 rooms.

The 3D-compatible AVR is the 7.1- channel STR-DN1010, shipping in June at an everyday retail of about $500. With HDMI 1.4 inputs and output, it delivers HDMI’s audio return channel and 3D passthrough features. 3D passthrough transports 3D video from connected devices to 3D-compatible HDTVs. Compatible devices include a pair of Sony Blu-ray players available in February at $200 and $250. A 3D firmware upgrade will be available for the two players in the summer.

Other features of the 7x110-watt DN 1010 include decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, second-zone S-Air wireless audio capability, four HDMI inputs, three component-video inputs, 1080/24p support, Deep Color and x.v. Color support, 1080p up-scaling of analog-video sources via HDMI output, icon-driven menu, a Digital Media Port (DMP) input that connects to Sony’s iPod and Net Walkman docks, Bluetooth stereo receiver and a DLNA-certifi ed Wi-Fi client that streams music from a networked PC.

The three other AVRs introduced feature HDMI 1.3 inputs and an HDMI 1.4 output, thus providing HDMI 1.4’s audio return channel but not 3D passthrough.

To open the mainstream AVR lineup, the 5.1-channel STR-DH510 will be available in March at about $230 with three HDMI inputs, two component-video inputs, HDMI repeater function, audio return channel, playback of Blu-ray soundtracks in linear PCM format and a Digital Media Port, a spokesman said.

At $300, the STR-DH710 is due in March and adds 7.1-channel capability, decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats in native format, three HDMI and three component- video inputs, S-Air wireless-audio option and audio return channel.

The $400 STR-DH810, also due in March, features four HDMI inputs, three component-video inputs, up-scaling of analog- video sources to 1080p, S-Air option, decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, fully assignable audio and video inputs, audio return channel and universal remote.

The products will join the previously announced BDV-E770W and BDV-E570 Blu-ray Disc home-theater systems, which will be Blu-ray 3D capable with fi rmware updates available in the summer.

The E770W is due in March at about $650 with multichannel SACD playback, decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, Sony’s Bravia Internet video services, BDLive, DLNA certifi cation with a fi rmware upgrade, built-in 1GB memory, IP content noise reduction, integrated S-Air wireless rear speakers, optional USB Wi-Fi dongle, iPod playback via USB, and playback of photos, music and video via USB-connected devices. It also features 1080p upscaling of DVDs.

The $550 BDV-E570, also due in March, offers the same features except for IP noise reduction and wireless speakers. A wireless kit is optional.
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