USA: Sony's 2009 AV receivers revealed
It's that time of year again when the major manufacturers start having their big US trade shows, to introduce the products due in the shops over the next few months.
One of the biggest is Sony's Open House, held in Las Vegas, and this year's is proving no disappointment: there's a new range of mass-market AV receivers, aimed at the same kind of buyers as the highly successful STR-DG820, two new Blu-ray Disc players and a pair of all-in-one BD systems, and a stack of DVD-based 'home theater in a box' packages including a 'soundbar' surround solution.
And as if all that wasn't enough, there are even more internet-ready TVs.
Of course, all these are US models, with no guarantees they'll appear over here, and features such as Sirius/XM radio capability will fall by the wayside if they do.
But judging from the experience of past years, at least some of them should be in a shop near you sometime this summer.
The receiver range tops out with the the sleek, piano-black-fronted STR-DN1000 (above). Set to sell for $500 (around £360 at current exchange rates), it sits above the STR-DH800, at $400 (£285) clearly designed as the replacement for the current STR-DG820.
The STR-DN1000 has four HDMI inputs, video upscaling and upconversion from all analogue video inputs, decoding for all the HD audio formats and a 7x110W output.
Wireless multiroom – up to ten zones
There's also wireless multiroom capability built-in, with the addition of an optional EZW-T100 transmitter ($50) and AIR-SA10 wireless active speakers ($120). The transmission system is Sony's own S-AIR, and it can drive up to ten remote zones around the home up to a maximum range of 50m.
In addition there's an icon-driven menu system, and connectivity for portable devices and home networks using the company's DM Port system.
The STR-DN1000 goes on sale in the States in July, preceded by the other three receivers in the range.
The STR-DH800 (above) has a similar specification to the 'DN1000, with a few of the frills – such as video scaling – trimmed off, and hits the shops in June, with two entry-level models, the $300 STR-DH700 and $200 STR-DH500 on sale this month.
All but the STR-DH500 (above) support HD audio, and all have the DM Port and Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration system.
Interestingly, Sony even has a new stereo receiver for the US market: the $150 STR-DH100 offers 100W per channel and a DM Port connection.
Stay tuned for more on Sony's new Blu-ray Disc players and home cinema systems.