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Sony announces two new 'ES' AV receivers

Sony has announced two new models in its "Elevated Standard" line of AV receivers, with the step-up STR-DA5500ES featuring six HDMI inputs, Rhapsody streaming and the ability to control it over a network.

Sony STR-DA5500ES
Sony STR-DA5500ES

Like many manufacturers, Sony has two brands of its AV receivers--the standard line (from the STR-DH100 and the STR-DG1200) and the premium, ES (elevated standard) line. Today at CEDIA, the company announced two new models of the ES line, the STR-DA3500ES and STR-DA5500ES. Let's take a look at the feature breakdown.

Key features of the Sony STR-DA3500ES:

Key step-up features of the Sony STR-DA5500ES:

  • 7.1 AV receiver, 120 watts per channel
  • Six HDMI inputs, including one front panel input
  • Two HDMI outputs
  • Can control receiver over network; integrates with Control4 home automation systems
  • DLNA compliant
  • Shoutcast and Rhapsody audio streaming
  • First Sony receiver to include Automatic Phase Matching (APM), which corrects phase differences between speakers
  • Available in October | $2,000 list price

While these receivers are certainly stacked with functionality, they're less impressive when compared with the competition. Onkyo's recently announced HT-RC180, for example, includes more streaming audio services (Rhapsody, Pandora, and vTuner) and five HDMI inputs for a street price of $800. On the other hand, we're excited to see some of the new functionality available on the STR-DA5500ES--especially how well both network control and the APM processing works. We're also interested to see if the company has made any tweaks to its graphical user interface, now that other manufacturers are starting to catch up.