3D television may be the next big thing if electronics manufacturers have their way, but that doesn’t mean it’s all roses for consumers. What we’re getting at is that you may be fully aware that a new 3D compatible television is required in order to watch 3D content couch side. Non PS3 owners should also know that the same thing holds true for Blu-ray players. However, one other detail that has been glossed over by the press and retailers is that current AV receivers are also incompatible with new 3D content specs, meaning you’ll need to upgrade your receiver if you’d like surround sound to go with that new “surrounding picture”.
Sony’s recently announced STR-DN1010 is the first of what we’re sure is soon to be a long line of A/V receivers capable of supporting 3D audio and video. What’s this product have that makes it compatible you say? Mainly its support of the latest HDMI profile known as HDMI 1.4. (To learn more about how this relates to 3D support, read on below, otherwise we’ll just get back to the product.)
Featuring 4 HDMI 1.4 ports, the STR_DN1010 should provide more than enough connectivity for your average home theater user. Outside of this upgrade, the receiver also supports 7.1 channel audio at 110 watts power per channel and full 1080/24p content through both HDMI along with 3 other component inputs. All advanced audio codecs like Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio are also supported.
In terms of setup, a basic graphical user interface is on board which allows users to navigate through the receiver’s options and tweak settings right on their TV. Last but not least, Sony’s proprietary S-Air wireless technology allows users to wireless stream audio to a second theater zone using compatible S-Air speakers. Basically, it’s a solid option for those looking to make the switch to 3D and it many ways just simply represents a step up from the Sony STR-DG920 we’ve reviewed in the past. However expect plenty more options to hit the market before this product is officially released in June.
Editor’s Note: While it is unfortunate that to get a real 3D home theater experience you’ll be forced to upgrade most of the core components you already own, there is a way around having to upgrade your receiver. To do this you’ll need to snag a 3D compatible Blu-ray player featuring 2 HDMI outputs. With this setup, users can connect one HDMI 1.4 cable directly to their TV for video, and connect another HDMI 1.3 cable to the receiver for audio output. Then adjusting the Blu-ray players settings to output dedicated audio to the receiver, you’re system should work.
HDMI 1.4 Explanation: Released in May of 2009, HDMI 1.4 expands upon the older 1.3 profile by first adding picture resolution support for content up to 3840x2160p (re: double the pixel lines of the current HD video standard) at refresh rates of 24hz/25hz/30hz, or 4096x2160p at 24Hz, which is the digital resolution found in movie theaters today. The new standard also provides a dedicated channel for Ethernet, making the same wiring now provide access to internet data at up to 100 MB/s. Last but not least, the upgrade includes a dedicated Audio Return Channel for 3D over HDMI. That all boils down to you needing to own a 1.4 complaint A/V receiver to still enjoy a one cable connection between your components.
Buy Now: $500