Sony Launches Digital-Friendly ES Receivers

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Electronics giant Sony has announced a new ES "Elevated Standard" series of AV receivers which feature compatibility with high-end digital audio formats, the ability to upscale content to 1080p over HDMI, and an iPod accessory dock for easy access to personal music libraries. The receivers support Sony’s Xross Media Bar onscreen interface, Dolby Labs’ Dolby Digital +/Dolby(R) TrueHD and dts(R) High Resolution Audio and DTS HD Master Audio, and sport a Digital Media Port supporting an optional iPod audio dock, or (alternatively) a Wi-Fi adapter, a Bluetooth receiver, or an adapter for Sony’s own Network Walkman media players.

"The new ES line is optimized for high-definition sources such as Blu-ray Disc media elevating the audio and video performance of the home theater by supporting the latest audio codecs," said Earl Martin, product marketing manager for Sony’s Digital Imaging and Audio Division, in a release. "While our ES products traditionally focus on enthusiasts, the new receivers also deliver access to popular digital music through an easy to navigate user interface delivering the complete package."

On the video front, the new models support 1080/60p and 24p video formats, and upscale video input via composite, S-Video, component, and HDMI inputs to 1080p output via HDMI. The units also support Sony’s Bravia Sync technology, Digital Cinema auto-calibration with stereo microphone, a Portable Audio Enhancer, and are ready to support either Sirius or XM satellite radio receivers.

The STR-DA5300ES features a 120-watt audio amp, a whopping six HDMI inputs, and can distribute high-definition content to a second zone with picture-in-picture monitoring of multi-zone output. The STR-DA4300ES sports a 120-watt amp and three HDMI inputs, while the STR-DA3300ES sports a 100-watt amp with three HDMI inputs, but which lack the Deep Color support on the two higher-end models.

The STR-DA3300ES should ship in August for about $1,000, while the STR-DA5300ES should ship in September for about $1,700. October should bring the STR-DA4300ES for about $1,300.

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