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Sony announces 3D-compatible AV receiver,<br /> new budget models

Sony has announced four new AV receivers for 2010, including the STR-DN1010, which the first receiver we've seen that is capable of passing 3D signals.

Sony STR-DN1010
Sony STR-DN1010 Sony

In our 3D TV FAQ, we mention that we expect new 3D-capable AV receivers to be released in 2010. Sony is the first manufacturer out of the gate, introducing new AV receivers, including the STR-DN1010 that is capable of passing 3D video signals. Their full spec sheets aren't available yet, but here's what we know so far:

Sony STR-DH510
Sony STR-DH510

Key features of the Sony STR-DH510:

  • 5.1 channel AV receiver, 100 watts per channel
  • 3 HDMI inputs
  • HDMI standby pass-through
  • HDMI audio return channel capable
  • 2 component video inputs
  • $230 list price; available in March
Sony STR-DH710
Sony STR-DH710

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DH710:

  • 7.1 channel AV receiver, 105 watts per channel
  • 3 component video inputs
  • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Second zone functionality using Sony's proprietary wireless S-Air products
  • Fully assignable inputs
  • $300 list price; available in March
Sony STR-DH810
Sony STR-DH810

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DH810:

  • 110 watts per channel
  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • 1080p upconversion of analog video signals
  • Universal remote
  • $400 list price; available in March
Sony STR-DN1010 back panel
Sony STR-DN1010 back panel

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DN1010:

  • 4 HDMI 1.4 inputs
  • 3D pass-through capable
  • Icon-driven graphical user interface
  • Universal remote
  • $500 list price; available in June

The 3D-capable STR-DN1010 is obviously the big news here, as it's the first receiver we've seen announced that supports pass-through of the new 3D video signals. It's worth pointing out that while you'll probably need a new 3D-capable AV receiver if you plan on using an all-HDMI setup with a new 3D Blu-ray player and 3D HDTV, you can use an non-3D capable AV receiver if you're willing to run an HDMI cable directly to the display and a digital audio cable to your AV receiver. Panasonic's DMP-BDT350 also supports dual-HDMI outputs, which helps to work around the problem.

Some of the other features announced on these receivers are also new for 2010. All of Sony's new AV receivers support HDMI standby pass-through, which means that they'll continue to pass audio and video signals to the display even when the receiver is turned off. It's a nice option because it lets you occasionally use your TV's internal speakers, perhaps for late night listening, without turning on your AV receiver or rewiring your home theater.

Another new feature included is HDMI audio return channel. This is mostly useful for those that use their HDTV's internal HDTV tuner. The return channel lets you send audio from the TV to the receiver; previously, this required running a separate cable from the digital audio output of the TV to the receiver. While the HDMI audio return channel is part of the new HDMI 1.4 spec, it appears that the step-down receivers support the return channel without the implementing all of HDMI 1.4's functionality, which would include 3D pass-through.