Sony STR-DN850 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Sony's STR-DN850 doesn't offer a huge number of changes from last year's excellent STR-DN840, but continues to offer an excellent combination of performance, features, and price. Power output is stout, with 150 watts per channel, while the 7.2 channels allow for hooking up a second subwoofer for more bass. Wireless connectivity is unsurprisingly strong, with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as DLNA and AirPlay compatibility.
New for 2014 is aptX and NFC support. Unfortunately, HDMI inputs have gone down in number compared to last year's model, at 5 HDMI inputs and a single output. While this is likely enough for most, it's always nice to have options for expansion. However, the STR-DN850 offers a much better user interface, as well as a better remote, resulting in an overall much improved experience. Connectivity includes only 2 composite inputs and a single composite output, with no component video connectivity. The STR-DN850 features 4K upscaling and passthrough as well, although the lack of HDMI 2.0 means content is limited to 4K/30Hz.
Overall, the STR-DN850 is a very solid choice - while it won't satisfy the needs of someone with an extensive setup, for those seeking an affordable receiver to improve their home theater experience, it is hard to go wrong with this model.