New 2009 Sony AV receivers: Here comes the gloss

Sony announces its new 2009 line of AV receivers, including the STR-DN1000, which includes a slick new design.

Sony's new STR-DN1000 features a slick new design.
Sony's new STR-DN1000 features a slick new design. Sony

Last month, Sony's STR-DG920 scored well in our review for its excellent value, offering up a graphical user interface, 1080p upconversion and four HDMI inputs at a midrange price--clearly besting the competition in the features department.

Sony announced its new 2009 line of AV receivers at its line show Monday, and it looks like much of that advantage has eroded away, with Yamaha's new receivers offering many of the same key features at similar prices. Unfortunately, the initial press releases are light on details, but here's what we know so far.

Sony STR-DH100

Key features of the Sony STR-DH100:

  • Stereo AV receiver, 100 watts per channel
  • Five analog audio inputs (no digital audio inputs)
  • No video inputs
  • $150 price, available in March

Sony STR-DH500

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DH500:

  • 5.1 channel AV receiver
  • Three HDMI inputs
  • Three component video inputs
  • Two composite AV inputs (with no S-Video)
  • Three digital audio inputs (two optical, one coaxial)
  • Digital Media Port
  • Digital Cinema Auto Calibration
  • $200 price, available in March

Sony STR-DH700

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DH700:

  • 7.1 channel AV receiver
  • Four composite AV inputs (with no S-Video)
  • Sirius-ready
  • Compatible with Sony's proprietary S-AIR wireless audio technology
  • $300 price, available in March

Sony STR-DH800

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DH800:

Sony STR-DN1000

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DN1000:

  • Slick exterior design
  • Analog upconversion up to 1080i
  • XMB-style graphical user interface
  • $500 price, available in July

The most interesting out of this line is the STR-DN1000 with its graphical user interface and new, flashy design. While the glossy, sleek exterior is eye-catching, we're hoping there's at least a flip-down panel for access to additional front panel controls.

We're also interested to get our hands on a review sample to see if there have been any improvements made to the GUI. The STR-DG920's GUI was better than nothing, but it wasn't quite as nice as the more advanced menus available on the ES line.

 

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