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Sony beat Pioneer to the punch when it announced the STR-DN1010 3D compatible home audio receiver early in February, but that doesn’t mean Pioneer’s out of the fight. In fact the recently announced VSX-820-K has many features at least on paper that make it a better option if you can accept having just a 5.1 x 100 watt setup as opposed to 7.1.

Like the STR-DN1010, the VSX-820 features four 3D ready HDMI 1.4 inputs for connecting modern 3D components. It also supports the latest HD audio formats of Dolby TruHD and DTS Master, however it also adds Dolby ProLogic IIz decoding to the mix. The inclusion of ProLogic IIz is designed to benefit those with left and right front towers, as the audio format distinguishes background sounds and adds these sounds to higher front speakers output.

The VSX-820 stands out further thanks to its “works with iPhone certification” and on board Bluetooth Audio Streaming. Do to its iPhone compatibility, the receiver can playback both audio and video content from an iPhone or iPod touch through the receivers front mounted USB input, as well as charge the hand held. The iPhone or iPod can also be controlled directly using the receivers on screen display and remote control. However with the push of the iPhone Control Button, users can quickly transfer control back to the iPhone or iPod directly should they want to navigate to a song quickly on the handheld. Bluetooth audio streaming also allows users to listen to audio content from their phone wirelessly across the system.

Pioneer’s standard Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration service per usual makes speaker setup a snap, while so called Auto Level Control ensures a consistent listening level from all connected devices. This means you can kiss blaring loud commercial interruptions good bye.

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For a suggested retail price of $299, we’re shocked at how much of a deal this receiver looks to be, and hope to get our hands on it shortly for a full scale review. Lastly we’ll mention that the cheaper VSX-520K was also announced with the VSX-820. However it’s only $70 cheaper, and in our book it’s a mistake to cheap out for it over the more amply equipped VSX-820.

Engadget via Business Wire]

Buy Now: $299