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CNET First Look
The best AV receiver value of the yearThe Sony STR-DN840 is by far the best AV receiver value of the year, offering tons of wireless connectivity and six HDMI inputs for well under $500.
Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we are taking a look at the Sony STR DN840. This a 7.2 AV receiver with built-in Bluetooth, airplay and Wi-Fi and it's selling for just $420. From the outside, it has a typical AV receiver look. It's a big black metal box so you're gonna need plenty of room in your TV cabinet. Now, Sony has done a decent job at making the front panel looks stylish, but we really can't compared to Marantz slim line NR1403 when it comes to style. The included remote isn't bad, although it has more buttons than it should. The white input buttons do standout well and there is a big volume rocker at the bottom, although it's easy to get mixed up with a not-so-useful sound field selector that's right next to it. On the back, the Sony has 7 HDMI inputs, which is as many as you're gonna get at this price level. There also a fair amount of legacy connections including 3 total digital audio inputs but component video is nowhere to be found. One thing to note is that although the Sony is a 7-channel AV receiver, it doesn't support true second zone audio capability. So if you have a 2 room setup. It may not be the best choice. The real standout is all of Sony's wireless capabilities. Wi-Fi is built-in, which makes it easy to go on your home network for firmware updates, smartphone control and the ability to stream from its integrated streaming services, which include Pandora, Slacker and Internet Radio. Even better, both Bluetooth and airplay are built-in, so it's simple to wirelessly stream audio from any app on your smartphone or tablet Sony's made it so convenient that you can even set the receiver to automatically turn on and switch to the right input anytime you select via airplay or Bluetooth. It's really a killer feature and no other receiver has this much wireless type for under $500. So if your music collection revolves around your mobile devices, this is a pretty great thing. We also has resident audiophile Steve Guttenberg gave it a listen and he was mostly impressed. Action movies and all the appropriate punch in 2-channel music was detailed in lush. It doesn't sound quite as good as the Marantz NR1403 and head to head test. But they're close and honestly, they both sound pretty good. Altogether, the STR DN840 just has an unbeatable set of features for the price especially if you wanna stream from your mobile devices, which is why it earned CNET Editor's Choice Award. This is the best value I've seen this year. So if you're looking for an AV receiver, start your search with this one. I'm Matthew Moskovciak, and this the Sony STR DN840.