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Sony STR-DN1020 Networked Receiver Preview

Sony STR-DN1020 Networked Receiver

Sony STR-DN1020 Networked Receiver


  • Product Name: STR-DN1020
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Date: March 08, 2011 03:10
  • MSRP: $500
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • 110 watt x7 (8ohms 1kHz 1% THD)
  • Access to streaming Internet audio services
  • Synchronized playback on Sony HomeShare wireless network speakers
  • iPhone/iPod touch remote control app
  • iPhone/iPod video and music playback via included dock
  • Upconvert/upscale from analog to 1080p video via HDMI (Faroudja DCDi Edge)
  • HDMI 3D pass-through
  • Seven HD inputs (four HDMI, three component)
  • D.L.L. advanced sound processing
  • Sony’s Advanced D.C.A.C. with Automatic Phase Matching
  • Sound Optimizer
  • Advanced on-screen graphic user interface
  • Second zone audio and video
  • Dual subwoofer pre-outs
  • IR in and out
  • Audio return channel
  • Standby pass-through of audio and video via HDMI connected devices
  • BRAVIA Sync

It's a race people. In case you hadn't noticed. It's always the way that when a manufacturer comes out with a new feature, the others play catchup. One adds two more channels of amplification, the next year everyone has the same. More HDMI inputs? They'll one-up you there. Made for iPhone? Well, how about we throw our dock in for free? It's always something and it is never ending. That's great for the consumers but we're sure it gives the engineers at the major manufacturers no end of sleepless nights.

Right now, if you aren't being bombarded with 3D, it's networking. Honestly, from a receiver standpoint, 3D is no problem. All they need is the latest iteration of HDMI (1.4a for those not keeping up) and they are good to go. It isn't like a display where they actually have to do something with the signal. All the receiver has to do is pass the 3D content cleanly without alteration.

But the other big buzzword is Networking. In this case, there is a lot more for the receiver, and the engineers behind it, to do. But, conversely, there is a call for receivers to be more and more affordable. And that's the direction the race is currently running. Up the networking feature ladder but down the price hill.

A conundrum no doubt.

Recently we covered a pair of offerings from Onkyo that offered streaming from $399. That's pretty impressive but the streaming was limited to networked computers and drives. While that's all fine and good, it isn't exactly what people think of when they think of streaming. The new Sony STR-DN1020 receiver looks to up the ante by offering not only the same DLNA certification and networked computer streaming of the Onkyo offerings, but also can connect to Slacker and vTuner. 

But let's talk about the basics. The Sony STR-DV1020 is a 7.2 channel, 110 watts per channel (measured generously at 1kHz and 1% THD). There are a fairly anemic number of HDMI inputs (four) supplemented by three component video inputs. Sony claims seven HD inputs which is technically true but try finding three component video sources putting out 1080p. The HDMI inputs are, of course, version 1.4a and support 3D, audio return channel, and standby pass-through.

Sony has included their proprietary Digital Cinema Auto Calibration room correction system as well as Faroudja DVDi Edge video upconversion to 1080p. Sony has another proprietary system for streaming audio to their rear/zone speakers wirelessly which the STR-DN1020 is out of the box ready. You need to buy the speakers but you won't need the transmitter. The STR-DN-1020 uses its Digital Legato Linear advanced sound processing technology to upscale audio signals to 192khz. Sony says this increases audio quality but unless it adds instruments that were removed, we don't see how. 

Sony has opted to include a dock for your iPod/iPhone. The dock will transmit not only audio but video through your receiver. Like just about everyone, Sony has released a free "Media Remote" app that turns your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android mobile device into a remote with a full keyboard. 


The real story here, of course, is the price. At $500 is has considerably better streaming than the Onkyo. That is if you use Slacker or vTuner. If not, it has the same. The fact is that Sony receivers seem to go on immediate and permanent sale as soon as they hit the Sony Store. So expect not to pay more that $400 for the Sony STR-DN1020. If you have Sony products, especially the wireless surround/zone speakers, you might want to look at the STR-DN1020. It's lacking many of the features of the competition like height/width channels, at least 2 additional HDMI inputs, and many others. It does have the basics, however, and it is very inexpensive for a "flagship" product. But then again, so is last year's model from the competition and you'll probably get more for your money.

For more information, please visit www.sonystyle.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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