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Sony Releases Mainstream AVR Lineup


Sony brought the price of key features
to lower price points in four new mainstreamseries
A/V receivers (AVRs) priced at an expected
everyday $230 to $500.

All models feature Dolby Pro Logic IIz post processing
to add front-height channels to a surround
system. The feature is currently available in three ESseries
models starting at $1,099.

The $500 7×100-watt STR-DN1020, due in May,
also offers three other features currently available
only in the ES series $1,099 and up. They include
Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification
to play music stored on a networked PC or other connected
DLNA device; Internet radio; and the ability to
be fully controlled from an iPod/iPhone app.

The new model can also be controlled via an Android

The $500 model is also the company’s first AVR with
wireless HomeShare capability, enabling it to stream
music via Wi-Fi to powered Wi-Fi speaker systems introduced
at International CES. The speaker systems
also stream music wirelessly from networked PCs and
network-attached storage drives, from a wireless iPod
dock, from select networked Blu-ray players, and from
two of three new iPod-docking HTiBs.

All the AVRs feature HDMI standby passthrough, but
decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats and 3D-capable
HDMI 1.4 inputs now start at $230, down from the
previous line’s $500, the company’s web site shows.
1080p up-scaling continues to start at $400, and audio
return channel (ARC) on HDMI outputs continues to
start at $230, a spokesman said.

Also at $230 price point, consumers get a 7.1-channel
receiver, whereas in last year’s line, $230 got consumers
a 5.1-channel receiver.

The lineup looks like this:

The $230 STR-DH520 7.1 Channel receiver, due
in Match, features 7×100-watt amplifier, HDMI 1.4 3Dcapable
inputs, audio return channel, standby HDMI
passthrough, four HDMI inputs, Pro Logic IIz, decoding
of all Blu-ray surround formats, automatic volume control,
Bravia Sync, and Bravia Widget unified on-TV interface.

The $300 STR-DH720, also due in March, features
7×105-watt amp and adds up-conversion/up-scaling of
analog video to 1080i over HDMI, iPhone/iPod video
and music playback via USB, and graphic onscreen UI.

The $400 STR-DH820, due in March, features 7×110-
watt amp and adds up-conversion/up-scaling of analog
video to 1080p video via HDMI, included iPod/iPhone
dock to connect to the USB iPod interface, Digital Legato
Linear (D.L.L.) advanced sound processing that
upscales compressed standard-definition audio signals
such as Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 192 kHz sampling
rates, second-zone audio and video output, and dual
subwoofer pre-outs.

The top-end STR-DN1020, due in May at $500, is rated
at 7×110 watts and adds access to streaming Internet
radio services Slacker an vTuner, compatibility with Sony
HomeShare wireless network speakers, iPhone/iPod
touch remote-control app, sound optimizer to enhance
surround imaging at any volume level, and IR in and out.