San Diego — Sony announced its first A/V receivers equipped with onboard decoding of all optional and standard-surround formats approved for use on HD DVD and Blu-ray Discs.
The three 7.1-channel ES series receivers use HDMI 1.3 inputs to accept all surround streams in native form from similarly equipped high-defnition disc players. The AVRs’ decoders include Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, dts High Resolution Audio and dts HD Master Audio. They also handle Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby and DTS 5.1 and 6.1 and multichannel PCM.
The three models are also the first Sony-brand A/V receivers that are both Sirius- and XM-ready, and the first ES models with digital media ports for connection to an optional iPod charging/docking station, PC-networking Wi-Fi client and Bluetooth stereo receiver to stream music from cellphones equipped with stereo Bluetooth.
The devices also expand the ES selection of AVRs with 1080p up-scaling to three from one.
The STR-DA5300ES ships in September at about $1,700, and STR-DA4300ES ships in October at about $1,300. The STR-DA3300ES ships in August at about $1,000.
The HDMI 1.3 connections and surround-decoder complement the three AVRs for next-generation Sony BD players. The company’s current BD players don’t feature HDMI 1.3, and the BDP-SA player supports all surround formats but DTS HD High Resolution and DTS HD Master Audio. The BDP-S300 lacks those two formats and lacks Dolby TrueHD.
All three receivers feature a digital media port that connects to an optional $100 iPod audio dock (TDM-iP1), enabling consumers to view an iPod’s playlists, artist, album and track information through the receivers’ icon-based, onscreen menu system.
The STR-DA3300ES at around $1,000 features HDMI 1.3, decoders for all HD DVD and BD surround formats, and 1080p up-scaling.
The port also connects to an optional $200 DLNA-certified Wi-Fi client (TDM-NC1) for streaming music from a PC, an optional $80 Bluetooth receiver (TDM-BT1) that streams music from Bluetooth-enabled devices such as cellphones, and a $50 docking station (TDM-NW1) compatible with select Network Walkman products.
Like the STR-DA5200ES launched late last year, all three receivers offer the Cortez Advanced controller featuring Faroudja DCDi Cinema technology that up-scales all video sources to 1080p via HDMI.
The new models also support both 1080/60p and 24p video formats. Other features include Bravia Theatre Sync technology, Digital Cinema auto calibration with stereo microphone and Portable Audio Enhancer.
The $1,700 7x120-watt STR-DA5300ES is the first Sony receiver that distributes high-definition content to a second room (or zone). It also offers picture-in-picture for monitoring multi-zone output or an external video source and six “active intelligence” HDMI inputs (with one output) that support Deep Color and xvYCC color technology.
The $1,300 7x100-watt STR-DA4300ES model offers a 100-watt power amplifier (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09 percent THD) and features three “Active Intelligence” HDMI inputs (one output) that support Deep Color, and xvYCC.
The $1,000 7x100-watt STR-DA3300ES model also and accepts eight-channel linear PCM. The model features three Active Intelligence HDMI inputs (one output) that support xvYCC.
All models will be offered direct at www.sonystyle.com and Sony Style retail stores nationwide, as well as at authorized dealers around the country.