Sony Stresses 3D, Connectivity, Pro Install with New ES Receivers
Sony borrows from studio biz to build ES receivers with exceptional 3D video and audio; sells exclusively through specialty A/V shops, not big-box retailers.
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Sony components integrated with a Control4 automation system
July 06, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

Sony is rolling out four new 3D products that are so good … only an A/V specialist can sell them.

The new products – three 7.1 A/V receivers and a Blu-ray player—are part of Sony’s Elevated Standard (ES) line, which is “only available to A/V specialty and installation dealers,” says Brian Siegel, vice president of Sony’s home audio and video business.

Siegel and his colleagues introduced the new products to a small group of reporters last week in Los Angeles.

The new 3D-capable devices are the STR-DA5600ES, STR-DA4600ES and STR-DA3600ES receivers, and the BDP-S1700ES Blu-ray player. They will all ship this August or September.

The x600ES receivers (with MSRPs from around $1,100 to $2,000) will replace the x500ES products, but the price points will remain the same.

Compared to their predecessors, the new receivers offer (depending on model):

  • 3D pass-through
  • improved multiroom features
  • enhanced DLNA capabilities
  • HDMI 1.4 with audio return channel
  • enhanced speaker auto-calibration
  • iPhone/iPad control
  • integrated Ethernet switch
  • richer two-way integration with third-party control systems via IP and RS-232

The new BDP-S1700ES Blu-ray 3D player (around $400) features an IR input jack on the rear panel, Bravia Internet Video, integrated 802.11n, and expanded content options with its built-in 1GB hard drive and DLNA compatibility.

View the complete product line, specs and pricing here.

Thriving on 3D

The “3D” label is hardly a cheap PR ploy, according Siegel.

“Sony’s value proposition in the 3D world,” he says, “is we’re the only ones that can provide everything from actual content creation to in-home and in-theater experience.”

Indeed, during the press event, reporters were led through Sony Pictures Entertainment and the corporation’s new 3D Technology Center. At the studios, Oscar-caliber technicians were hard at work converting old 2D movies to 3D, perfecting 3D film-making, and mixing 7.1 audio for 3D movies.

Through its Imageworks group, Sony “has made more 3D movies than just about anyone,” says Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies.

So it seems fair that Sony would claim 3D superiority in its new receivers and Blu-ray player (not to mention Bravia TVs and other 3D products announced last month).

Siegel says in a statement released today, “Because Sony is involved in every stage of the 3D ecosystem, specialty dealers and installers can rest assured that our A/V components leverage that deep expertise to deliver the most technically advanced experience possible.”

While CE pros might “get it,” though, big-box retailers and online stores probably won’t. Consumers are more likely to enjoy the full 3D splendor of Sony products when demonstrated and/or installed by a specialty shop.

“The experience of the products requires that you go to it – see it, hear it, feel it – that you have that conversation with dealers,” says Siegel.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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