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CNET First Look
Sony STR-DN1010Sony's midrange AV receiver improves on its predecessor with new HDMI features like standby pass-through and 3D compatibility, but it lacks a compelling reason to pick it over its competitors.
Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, senior associate editor at CNET.com and we're here with the Sony STR-DN1010. This is Sony's midrange AV receiver for 2010 and it's currently selling for about $500 online. Sony went with a glossy black finish on the front panel and there aren't many buttons which gives it a nice minimalist look. There's a flipdown door along the bottom and underneath, there are a few additional buttons plus an AV input. If you hit the menu button on the remote, the graphical user interface pops up on your TV and it's a small step up from the text-based interfaces offered by competing Denon and Marantz receivers. It's helpful during setup tasks where the graphics make it easier to visualize the changes that you're making. Around back, you'll see Sony has four HDMI inputs which is less than many competitors that are offering six. The Sony does support many new HDMI 1.4 features including 3D video passthrough and audio return channel. It also has standby passthrough which allows the receiver to continue passing HDMI video signals even when it's turned off. The rest of the connectivity is highlighted by three component video inputs and it can upconvert those signals to the HDMI output so it's easy to switch between seven HD devices at once. Still, we would have liked to see more HDMI connectivity at this price. You'll notice there's also a proprietary DM port on the back and this is the connection you'd use if you buy a Sony accessory such as the iPod dock. However, the dock costs about $100 and with other receivers allowing you to connect an iPod directly via USB, it's frustrating that the Sony doesn't have iPod support out of the box. Sound quality on the Sony was good, but it was a step behind other midrange AV receivers we've tested this year. On some classical SACDs that we listen to, we found it produced plenty of bass but it was muddy and less defined than other receivers. When we had it head to head with the Pioneer VSX-1020-K, we felt the Pioneer sounded clearer especially with dialogue and it was also more powerful. Altogether, while the Sony has some new HDMI features that make it better than last year's model, ultimately, we couldn't find a compelling reason to pick it over its better-sounding and better-featured competitors. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and this is the Sony STR-DN1010.