Big Picture Big Sound

Networked Sony STR-DA5500ES Receiver Goes Beyond the Home Theater

By Chris Chiarella

One of two new receivers introduced by Sony here at CEDIA, the STR-DA5500ES (the "ES" is for Elevated Standard) is their first to offer control over an IP network, greatly enhancing its versatility. Installers can now easily integrate the receiver into Control4 home automation systems, and it will also support special Control4-developed and -certified IP network applications, such as configuration and diagnostic tools for dealers. 

The STR-DA5500ES is also Sony's first to offer Automatic Phase Matching, which corrects for phase differentiation between front, center, and surround speakers, improving the perceived quality of the soundstage. Also onboard is new HD Digital Cinema Sound, developed jointly with Sony Pictures Entertainment. HD Digital Cinema Sound the aims to recreate the sonic experience of a true movie theater in the home, taking Blu-ray et. al. to a new level.

The STR-DA5500ES is one of Sony's best-featured receivers ever.

The network capabilities of the multi-room-HD-capable STR-DA5500ES enable streaming of photos, digital music and videos from a Digital Life Network Alliance- (DLNA) compliant source within a home broadband network. As yet another bonus, Shoutcast Internet Radio and the Rhapsody Music Service can now be enjoyed via the receiver. and functions as the source for easy firmware upgrades. Both the STR-DA5500ES and new STR-DA3500ES are designed as easy-to-use solutions for expanding high-definition entertainment to multiple rooms of the home.

Adding to the receiver's network connectivity is a an exceptional array of A/V inputs and outputs.

Performance-wise, the STR-DA5500ES packs a 120-watt power amplifier for each of the seven channels, six HDMI inputs (five rear, one front) plus two outputs. It supports 1080/24p video, x.v.Color and Deep Color, with Faroudja upscaling of all sources to 1080p in the main zone and 1080i in a second zone. The receiver handles Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Pro Logic IIx and eight-channel Linear PCM. Audio can also be expanded into a third zone. The STR-DA5500ES will be available in October with a retail price expected to be around $2,000.

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