Sony STR-DN1050 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Like their previous AV Receivers, Sony's STR-DN1050 gives a good combination of features and performance for the price. Although around $600, this receiver builds upon last year's excellent STR-DN1040, offering performance and features typically only found on models that cost twice as much.
Wireless connectivity is one of this receiver's top strengths, maintaining the built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, DLNA, and support for Apple AirPlay from last year while adding support for NFC and aptX. The superb user interface has also been carried over but unfortunately, the STR-DN1050 has less HDMI inputs than its predecessor. Although six connections are still plenty for most, it's a bit disappointing to lose the expansion flexibility offered by the STR-DN1040 (although there are 10 HD inputs in total). HDMI outputs have gone up from two to three, and include a second-zone HDMI output. MHL compatibility is also standard, and analog connectivity is decent.
One of the most substantial upgrades for 2014 is the powered second-zone support, which accepts any source and matches receivers costing well over $1,000. Other than this, the STR-DN1050 is quite similar to the STR-DN1040 in terms of features, including the same 4K upscaling, 7.2-channel configuration, and 165 watts per channel. Many other improvements are beneath the surface; Sony has improved the design of the internal components, resulting in less overall interference/noise and the digital timing circuit has been taken from their high-end receivers.
All of this means better sound and video performance. While there are very good receivers that cost less, the STR-DN1050 delivers great output, good versatility, and overall ease-of-use making it well worth the extra investment.