Sherwood cuts the wires with Bluetooth-capable music-streaming receiver

Sherwoodbluetooth Sherwood America has unveiled a new A/V receiver with a handy optional feature: Bluetooth connectivity. Thanks to the BT-R7 dongle, the new RD-7503 receiver can pull stereo audio off of any compatible Bluetooth device, from iPhones to notebook computers. Instead of shoving your iPhone into a physical dock, you can just install the R7 into the receiver's front port and stream music from anywhere in the room.

It's a handy feature, if you have a Bluetooth device and are willing to buy the optional dongle ($50 MSRP). Unfortunately, it has two drawbacks.

First, if you have an iPod or iPod Touch, you'll need yet another dongle to enable Bluetooth on the player. They don't come with Bluetooth built-in. Most cell phones (including the iPhone) and notebook computers should be ready to stream music without any extras, though.

Second, it only streams stereo MP3 audio. If you want to listen to any of your tunes in a lossless format or with more than two channels, you're going to need to break out the wires.

For a budget-priced ($440 MSRP) receiver, the RD-7503 sports a fairly beefy feature set. It offers 7 x 100 watts of power, Dolby TruHD and DTS Master Audio HD decoding, dual-zone capability, and repeaters on its three HDMI inputs, so it can process audio directly through its HDMI cable. Three HDMI inputs aren't very much for a receiver, but considering they all have repeater circuitry on a sub-$500 model, it still should be good for most modest home theaters.

Will Greenwald