Sony's New ES Receivers

It's already been a hectic week for new product announcements, with Samsung and Denon unveiling a lot of new gear. But Sony was at this week too announcing three new AVRs with next-gen audio decoding and a host of other hot features related to streaming audio and networking.

ES is Sony's "Elevated Standard" line, and the new models are the STR-DA3300ES ($1,000, August, pictured above), STR-DA4300ES ($1,300, October), and STR-DA5300ES ($1,700, September). All are 7.1-channel models and feature iPod integration through Sony's Digital Media Port and optional iPod dock. Other accessoires include Wi-Fi client for streaming digital audio, a Bluetooth receiver, and a docking station comaptible with select Network Walkman components. Both are Sirius and XM Connect-and-Play ready.

Of course, getting nearer and dearer to our hearts here at UAV, these new models are optimized for next-gen HD applications. All three support both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 inputs over HDMI and the STR-DA4300ES and STR-DA5300ES are spec'd to decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA lossless. And all three decode up to eight channels of hi-res linear PCM and all three feature video processing courtesy of Faroudja's Cortez chip set, including 1080p upconversion.

All three AVRs feature "Active Intelligence" HDMI inputs. The STR-DA5300ES features six HDMI inputs, while the other two new models offer three each.

The 5300ES is rated at 120-Watts x7 (8 ohms), and is a first for Sony in its ability to distribute high-definition video to a second room (zone). The 4300ES and 3300ES are rated at 110-Watts x7 (8 ohms).