/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Sony STR-DN1010 (photos)

Sony'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.

Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg
Matthew Moskovciak
33976245_OVR.png
1 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony STR-DN1010

When Sony announced its 2010 line of AV receivers in February, the STR-DN1010 was the first AV receiver announced with 3D pass-through capability, and it was a step-up feature over Sony's STR-DH810. Since then, however, 3D compatibility has become commonplace, trickling down to receivers as inexpensive as Denon's $250 AVR-391 and Pioneer's $230 VSX-520-K. That largely tells the story of Sony's midrange AV receiver, which is certainly an improvement last year's STR-DN1000, but lags compared with competitors, which offer more HDMI inputs, better sound quality and easy iPod/iPhone connectivity. Even its once best-in-class graphical user interface has now been surpassed by the new menus found on the Yamaha RX-V667. If you're a fan of the Sony brand, there's nothing wrong with the STR-DN1010 and it still offers a good value, but there are better options available in the same price range for the majority of buyers.
33976245_FT1.JPG
2 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Design

The STR-DN1010 goes for a minimalist look, with a glossy front panel uncluttered by the usual knobs and buttons that tend dominate AV receivers. There's a power button the left, a large volume button the right (with a mute button), and an input selector button rocker--and that's it. We're fans of the "less is more" look, as we rarely feel the need to use front panel buttons anyway.
33976245_FT.jpg
3 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Flip-down panel

If you do need the front panel buttons, they're still there, underneath the flip-down panel that runs along the bottom.
33976245_DT2.JPG
4 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Front panel connectivity

There are a few buttons for changing sound modes, plus an AV input and the port for the automatic speaker calibration microphone.
33976245_BK.jpg
5 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity

Four HDMI inputs are the minimum we expect at this price level, although many competitors offer six, including the Pioneer VSX-1020-K, Onkyo TX-SR608 and Yamaha RX-V667. The rest of its analog video connectivity is better than average, but that's less of a concern to us now that nearly every home theater gadget features HDMI. Altogether the STR-DN1010 can switch between seven HD devices at a time, but we still wish it featured more HDMI ports.
iPod_Touch_033_e.jpg
6 of 11 Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Graphical user interface

If you press the large menu button, it will bring up the STR-DN1010's graphical user interface. Although the graphics are bare bones--it's far from the eye candy you'd find on, say, a Blu-ray player--we do find that it's a worthwhile step-up from the blocky text interfaces offered on competitors like the Denon AVR-1911 and Marantz NR1601.
iPod_Touch_038_e.jpg
7 of 11 Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Assigning inputs

We found it relatively easy to assign and rename inputs, and the visual nature of the menu was most helpful for visualizing setup tasks like speaker setup.
iPod_Touch_045_e.jpg
8 of 11 Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Renaming inputs

iPod_Touch_052_e.jpg
9 of 11 Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Speaker setup

Overall, we prefer the more colorful look and faster response time of the Yamaha RX-V667's menus, but the STR-DN1010's are a step-above the norm.
339762450_RMT_540x405.jpg
10 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Remote

The included remote is better than average for an AV receiver. It manages to offer enough functionality without becoming overwhelming. Input buttons are given priority at the top of the remote, and the direction pad is below, for navigating the GUI. As with most AV receiver remotes, the STR-DN1010's clicker tries to do too much by being able to control other devices. That means anytime you press "BD" to select that input, the remote will then start trying to control the Blu-ray player, rather than the receiver. As always, it's worth considering an upgrade to a quality universal remote.
33976245_DT1.JPG
11 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microphone

The STR-DN1010's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration automatic speaker calibration system is supereasy to use. Not only that, it takes about a minute to complete; just plug in the supplied microphone, bring up the Auto Cal page in the GUI, and initiate the program. Unlike Onkyo, Marantz or Denon's Audyssey calibration routines that require the user to repeat the procedure three or more times with different microphone positions, the STR-DN1010 gets the job done from a single mic position.

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

More Galleries

The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

8 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

More Galleries

Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

7 Photos
The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

More Galleries

The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

40 Photos