News / Media

New SoundFrame in-wall or on-wall speakers by Monitor Audio

Classy new SoundFrame in-wall or on-wall speakers by Monitor Audio are available with “picture” frames in Black Lacquer, White Lacquer, or even paintable versions. The “pictured wall art” itself may be any high-resolution image the client or interior decorator desires.The art is of the customer’s choosing…an unlimited selection!

CE Pro & Electronic House were so impressed their panel of industry integrators and editors selected the SoundFrame SF1 in-wall as CEDIA’s 2010 Best Award in the category of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Criteria included creativity, innovation, aesthetics, and lifestyle benefits.

Custom Retailer was so excited that SoundFrame was honored with the prestigious EXCITE Award at this year’s CEDIA.

“Picture Frame” speakers
- Hybrid on-wall/in-wall speaker systems
- 3-way design
- All C-CAM® drivers
- IDC Inverted Dual Concentric tweeter/ 4” midrange with RST® (Rigid Surface Technology)
- 6” Bass driver with RST®
- High frequency attenuator (+3,0,-3dB)
- 3.5” mounting depth, CP style sealed enclosures
- Finishes: high-gloss black, high-gloss white, matte white (paintable!)
- On-grille picture printing option
- Availability: December 2010 / January 2011

Posted by chantal Fri, 29 Oct 2010 16:49:00 GMT

Review: Anthem LTX 300v Projector

This Anthem’s a major hit, as the LTX 300v LCoS projector delivers true colors and easy setup.

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October 18, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

If you heard rumbling last summer, it may have been the collective applause from loyal fans of sister brands Anthem and Paradigm. In July 2009, the Canadian manufacturer announced its first front projectors, the LTX 300 and LTX 500, under the Anthem logo, thereby creating a one-stop theater shop: Paradigm surround-sound speakers, Anthem amplification and processing, and Anthem projection. Anthem has since added a Blu-ray player and A/V receivers.

The first thing to note from the LTX 300v projector, updated earlier this year, is that the unit will undoubtedly generate comparisons to acclaimed projectors from JVC, from which it has been rebadged. The projectors use Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) light engine technology. (JVC’s is known as D-ILA.) And in this case, such comparison is a good thing, as JVC’s images are among the best, especially for the value bucks.

Second, it takes very little time to install the LTX 300v. I dove right in without leafing through the manual. Using the remote to operate the motorized lens, it took less than five minutes to scale, shift and focus the image on my 92-inch Elite Screens EZ-Frame display. You can do this with or without an image on the screen, as the latter option gives you a green laser-like grid and frame to match to your screen, and you can use the remote’s up/down arrows until the word “focus” comes into clearest view.

Then calibrate till you’re cross-eyed. Working through the menu brings the usual video adjustments such as basic sharpness, contrast and brightness, as well videophile tweaks like gamma correction and individual color management, which can both be saved for up to three presets. The included remote makes life very easy, and even features a button to back-light itself, which comes in handy when the theater lights are down….

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Posted by chantal Wed, 27 Oct 2010 16:26:00 GMT

Samsung Smart TV and 3D Rx

Samsung Smart TV, Apps Built for Your TV

Discover a new dimension in TV with Samsung Smart TVs and the Samsung Apps platform. Samsung Apps are a growing collection of web-connected apps specifically built for your TV that connects you to your favorite digital content like videos, sports, games, social networking and much more.

With web-connected apps on your Samsung Smart TV, you can stream movies from Netflix or Blockbuster, TV shows from Hulu, videos from YouTube, Next Level sports information from ESPN, music from Pandora and view updates on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. It’s the apps that matter to you, now available on your TV.

Movie and Music Apps
Movie apps like Vudu and Netflix take “on demand” content to a whole new level. These apps let you download and or stream content in real-time from movie and TV libraries with thousands of options. Miss your favorite Thursday night TV show? With Hulu Plus™ you can watch recently aired TV shows from networks like ABC, Fox, and NBC—on your own time. And, music lovers can appreciate streaming music on their TVs as well as personalize their own TV radio “station” with the app from Pandora.

Real-time Gaming, Twitter and News
Looking for real-time interaction? Why not let your TV screen double as a virtual playground for games like Texas Hold’em and QuizzMaster. Or download popular entertainment and useful informational apps like AccuWeather, USA Today or Google Maps. And, if you really want to connect, Samsung’s suite of TV apps also include popular social networking apps like Facebook and Twitter.

Connect Your TV to the Internet
To start using the Samsung Apps platform on your Samsung TV you must first connect your TV to the internet, which is an easier process than it may sound. You can do this wirelessly with a wireless adapter like the LinkStick or by using an Ethernet cable. With Samsung’s web-connected TV apps, TV becomes more than just something to watch—it becomes an interactive entertainment system.

Adding Apps to Your TV
The first thing you should do is check out the Samsung App Store. This is where you can learn how to register your Samsung TV, Blu-ray player or Home Theater component, and activate your account. After that downloading an app is as easy as going to the Samsung Apps menu on your TV, selecting the app you want to purchase (there are a number of free apps), and clicking “Buy now”. You can purchase as many apps as you want at once and new apps are adding to our catalog on a weekly basis so be sure to check back often.

Samsung introduces prescription glasses for 3D TVs

Samsung has announced that it will soon offer 3D glasses customized for users who typically wear corrective lenses. The company is working with optometrists to build 3G glasses with prescription lenses, eliminating the need to wear two pairs or frames or contacts.

The prescription glasses will be available with a one-week wait for custom manufacturing. The company has yet to disclose pricing, but the prescription offerings will likely command a premium price well above typical 3D glasses.

Posted by chantal Tue, 26 Oct 2010 17:04:00 GMT

Monitor Audio Climate Outdoor Speakers

Style and Performance Rain or Shine!

Climate Outdoor Speakers may be custom engineered for a demanding weather-proof environment, however, they also offer Monitor Audio’s signature sound found in their hi-fi loudspeaker designs that music lovers and professional listeners will appreciate!

  • ABR Auxiliary Bass Radiators
  • Magnetically attached end caps
  • 180º rotational bracket. 15 degree angled wedge for additional versatility
  • Anchor point for security chain attachment
  • Adapts to single-gang junction box
  • Textured black and white paintable finishes

Posted by chantal Mon, 25 Oct 2010 16:23:00 GMT

Crestron Introduces New Sonnex Digital Audio Transport Technology

Crestron Press Release September 23, 2010

Crestron Debuts Sonnex™ Technology with Digital 24X8 Multi-Room Audio System and Audio Expander

Crestron introduces its new digital 24X8 multi-room audio system with built-in Sonnex™ audio transport technology. Blending high-performance digital audio processing, full-matrix switching and high-powered amplification into a single component, Crestron Sonnex redefines audio distribution for the digital age. This revolutionary audio transport technology transmits 64 channels of uncompressed 24-bit HD audio across a single shielded CAT5 cable. Representing a new generation of multi-room audio distribution, Sonnex delivers improved performance and significantly reduces hardware and software cabling.

With all-in-one, high efficiency hardware design and an exclusive single-wire digital bus, Sonnex technology dramatically advances performance, output, efficiency and ease of installation. It also substantially reduces the hardware and cabling requirements of traditional systems; all that is needed is a single shielded twisted pair wire, home run to the master system in the rack. Gone are the days of purchasing separate amps, preamps, switchers and the extensive cabling required to connect them. As many as eight expansion units can be installed far from the main rack, supporting distribution of 24 sources to 72 zones. Sonnex drives 200 watts at 4 ohms per channel, delivering nearly 30,000 watts of total power and creating an unforgettable high-definition listening experiences in every room.

“With full matrix switching, HD audio processing and high-powered amplification integrated into a single component, Sonnex is a complete solution for multi-room, digital audio distribution,” explains Vincent Bruno, Crestron Director of Marketing. “Fewer cable runs, easy-to-pull shielded CAT5 and fewer connection points saves installers lots of time and expense.”

The Sonnex multi-room audio distribution system draws incredibly low power for even more savings. Its energy efficient, cool-running design conserves rack space by eliminating the need for empty space between components.

For optimal sound quality in each zone, acoustics are easily customized and adjusted from room to room and outdoors. Custom speaker profiles and 5-band EQ presets provide each zone with the best sound based on its natural acoustic qualities. From any touchpanel or remote, you can choose a “Classical” mix in the library, “Jazz” in the kitchen and “Rock” on the patio.

From the front panel or the menu-driven software tools, installer-friendly configuration of a multi-room HD audio system is fast and easy.

Posted by chantal Wed, 20 Oct 2010 16:27:00 GMT

PadTab hangs your iPad on the wall

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If you’re looking for another way to hang your iPad prominently on the wall, the newly announced PadTab might be worth a look. It works on any flat surface, and lets you easily mount and remove your iPad.

The kit includes one PadTab mount that sticks to the back of your iPad. You also get two wall tabs that bond to a wall or fridge. No tools are necessary for the installation. Unlike the recently released Wallport, which has an aluminum frame, the PadTab is literally a hanger for the iPad, so you don’t see the mount. The wall tabs themselves are clear so they’re relatively inconspicuous if your iPad isn’t mounted there…

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Posted by chantal Tue, 19 Oct 2010 18:28:00 GMT

Elan G Gets a Sleek Handheld Remote, the HR2

September 01, 2010 | by Julie Jacobson

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Elan delivers first handheld remote control, the new Elan G HR2. The remote is a first for Elan Home Systems, which has always wanted to offer one, but never managed to do it.

“Every time we started looking at a remote control over the years, we were close, but then someone came out with something cheaper and fancier,” says chief technology officer Bob Farinelli. “We thought, maybe it it’s not our space. And maybe that was our mistake. Now remote control companies are coming into our space.”

The HR2 is a two-way WiFi (802.11g) remote with IR control as well. A 2.4-inch OLED screen provides feedback from security, lighting and climate controls, plus metadata from supported A/V devices.

Like the rest of the products in the new Elan G line, which Elan president Paul Starkey calls “the biggest product introduction ever,” the remote is programmed using Elan’s Configurator software. The user interface mimics that of the other G displays including touchscreens, OLED touchpads and iPhone/iPad apps…

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Posted by chantal Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:17:00 GMT

5 pros, 5 cons for Sony Internet TV

By Stewart Wolpin 11:27PM on Oct 12, 2010

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Sony and Google TV have finally fulfilled a 30-year-old search for a successful convergence of the TV and the PC. And while the Sony Internet TV powered by Google (the official mouthful of a name) runs on Android, the OS looks and acts nothing like Android does on a smartphone, and bears only a passing resemblance to current connected TV interfaces. It could completely change the way you watch TV — in a good way. But these first Google TV-powered HDTVs are clearly v1.0 and, almost as clearly, and are dominated by Google’s PC/cellphone-centric world and interface view. We may have a glass mostly full opinion of this first run at Google TV, but it seems clear this is the path of the future and could replace Yahoo! as the dominant connected TV platform.


There are four Sony Internet TV models — 24-inch ($599), 32-inch ($799), 40-inch ($999) and 46-inch ($1,399). All are edge-lit LED LCD except the 24-incher, which is old-fashioned CFFL. There’s also a Sony Internet-enabled Blu-ray player that brings Google TV to both unconnected and suddenly old-fashioned connected HDTVs. You can place pre-orders right now at the Sony site. Actual products will go on sale at Sony Style showrooms this weekend and at Best Buy starting Oct. 24. Sony says it will be the only HDTV vendor with Google HDTV this year, which means we’re likely to see additional Google TV-powered HDTVs from other HDTV makers next year.


1. All Content United: No longer is what’s on TV and what’s on the internet living in separate homes. While there are still walled content gardens, all of these gardens are united on the Home Screen, and all can be searched at one time. Once you start typing characters, Google TV starts looking for matches everywhere: in the cable/satellite program guide, the Web, your DVR, apps (not sure if it’ll search Netflix or other VOD services, however), all clearly listed and easily scrollable and selectable. If a future program is listed, you can set a DVR recording with a couple of clicks and without shifting to the program guide grid. Once you grok Google TV’s logic and learn what all the icons indicate, it’s actually fun to search for exactly what you want to surf or watch.

2. Surf and Watch Simultaneously: Called Dual View, Google lets you simultaneous Web surf while still watching TV. For instance, if you’re watching Mad Men, you can search for details on any obscure 60’s reference while continuing to watch Don Draper bed another secretary. If you’re watching a football game, you can check your fantasy league stats. You also can Tweet while you’re watching. The whole idea is to mimic and reduce watching TV with a laptop on your lap to a single screen.

3. Eight-Foot Surfing: Web surfing, either from within the search function or using the Google Chrome app, is a pleasure. It looks, well, just like the Web on your desktop, except most of the text is large and easily readable from eight feet away.

4. Unified Devices: In order to do system-wide content searches, the system has to know what’s connected to it. During set-up, the system will locate and identify all the connected HDMI gear, especially the cable/satellite box to incorporate the on-screen guide into interface and the DVR. If you opt for the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray player, however, the connection is more of a daisy chain. Instead of attaching each of your HDMI components directly to your dumb HDTV or an receiver, you connect your cable or satellite box instead to the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray player, which is then connected to the HDTV or receiver.

5. All Play and No Work: Not a single mention was made of productivity applications for the TV — no email, word processing, spreadsheets, or anything. Sure, someone may come up with these productivity apps, but I’m glad neither Sony nor Google even thought this work activities were even worth discussing.


1. Bad Remote Control: It’s a button-filled nightmare. It’s awkward, if not impossible, to control basic volume/channel functions with one hand — the volume and channel up/down toggles are too far apart except for piano players, pro basketball players and other huge-handed types. There’s no 3 x 4 numerical keypad array to casual thumb as you channel jump. To go to a specific channel, you have to use the QWERTY numeric row. Yuck. Designers should have taken a lesson from cellphones and Vizio — a remote control with a slide-out QWERTY and standard one-handed remote array on top would work much better. Fortunately, perhaps, an Android smartphone remote control app will be available sometime this fall.

2. Dual View Too Small: This is a TV — the interface shouldn’t monopolize the screen. In Dual View, the TV picture is relegated to a tiny barely watchable PIP in the bottom right corner. When folks watch and surf simultaneously with two separate devices they don’t sacrifice picture size.

3. Dual View Isn’t the Default View: Also in a seemingly Google/interface-centric decision, Dual View isn’t automatic — you have to push the remote control Dual View key before you go to the Google TV Home screen. Once on and beyond the Home screen, you cannot activate Dual View. If you forget to activate it, you have to leave the interface, return to the plain TV view, then press Dual View, then go back to the interface.

4. TVs Are Too Small: In the HDTV world, 50-inch is the new 42 — but the largest Sony Internet TV is just a 46-incher. I’m sure Sony has it’s reasons for not offering larger sizes, but these relatively tiny TVs are sure to stifle excitement.

5. TVs Are Too Big: As you can see by some of the side views, these are really thick HDTVs, which may dissuade buyers for whom home decor is more important than eliminating the need to keep a laptop in your lap while you watch TV. And what’s with the white backs?While not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a bit surprising that — since both Google and Sony have vast PC experience — there’s no built-in Web cam. But software improvements and hardware variety are sure to come as Google TV is more widely adopted next year by other HDTV makers.

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Posted by chantal Thu, 14 Oct 2010 16:39:00 GMT

Baldwin Hardware announces ZigBee Pro motorized deadbolt

Baldwin Hardware (part of the Stanley Black & Decker Hardware and Home Improvement Group) just announced a ZigBee Pro based Keyless Entry Deadbolt which is compatible with the Control4 platform. Check out the press release below for more details.

Baldwin’s Keyless Entry Deadbolt uses Home ConnectTM technology and the ZigBee Pro wireless protocol to communicate with a Control4® home automation system. Unique codes can be programmed to control multiple electronic devices and systems throughout the home including A/V gear, lighting, thermostat and security systems. For example, unlocking the door can generate a welcome scene that disarms the alarm, adjusts lighting and climate control and switches on music. With any Control4® touch screen or TV in the home, a smart phone, or Web access, homeowners can check the status of their locks, lock/unlock their home remotely and receive a text or e-mail message when a lock is accessed.

While keyless locks are not new, Baldwin’s version sets a new benchmark for the market. Baldwin’s keyless lock features superior styling and construction, as well as the company’s legendary Lifetime Finish. Unlike others on the market, Baldwin’s keyless lock features a revolutionary self-aligning, tapered, motorized deadbolt; advanced design for ease of use and programming; customizable features; and trouble-free integration with other home automation components. With access codes up to eight digits long protected by 128-bit encryption, Baldwin’s Keyless Entry with Home ConnectTM ensures true security.

The set also features one-touch locking and two customizable access codes-one for family, one for temporary access. Other features include a backlit keypad, incorrect code lockout, automatic door locking, audible signal for activation, lock/unlock LED indicator, and low battery indicator. Baldwin’s Keyless Entry with Home ConnectTM is easy to install in a standard door, and no hard wiring is required.

Baldwin is offering two keyless entry styles: the contemporary Soho and the more traditional or rustic Boulder. Each comes in four finishes to coordinate with any home style and, unique to the segment, Baldwin is offering both sectional and 3/4 escutcheon handlesets with the locks. All styles are available for order by authorized Control4 dealers now.

Baldwin Keyless Entry with Home ConnectTM is currently compatible via Zigbee with Control4® home automation systems. Visit to locate a Control4 dealer near you. Additional home automation integration partners are being added frequently. Visit to learn if Baldwin’s Keyless Entry is compatible with your home automation system.

Posted by chantal Wed, 13 Oct 2010 18:46:00 GMT

New sony Sony STR-DA5600ES Receiver with built in iphone or ipad control!

By Joe Whitaker

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It’s difficult for a manufacturer to distinguish itself in the A/V receiver category these days. After all, just how good can a 7.1 surround system sound?But Sony manages to bring plenty of innovation to the new STR-DA5600ES (Elevated Standard), available only through specialty A/V retailers and custom integrators. It sounds amazing, but it also networks beautifully via an on-board four-port Ethernet switch, and offers the best Control4 integration I’ve ever experienced with a third-party A/V component.

The audio performance of the receiver is rivaled only by the video, with Faroudja processing so good that it made my old VHS movies look respectable. With the unit’s nearly flawless 3D pass-through, even the purists may never know that a receiver sits between the source and a display.

Perhaps the biggest treat of them all: The free Apple app for controlling the 5600ES is one of the best control apps I’ve ever used.

The integrated unit, which pumps out 130 watts of power to seven channels, hits the market this month. It will make A/V integrators – the only folks who have access to the line – rethink their affection for separates.

Here’s what you’ll find in the set-up menu:

Speaker Setup The highlight of this section is the ability to set up multiple sweet spots – up to three ideal sound environments for three different seating positions. This feature is useful for large theater rooms or rooms with multiple seating areas like a rear bar or pub setting.There are two other noteworthy features: First, you can change the impedance from 8 ohm to 4 ohm. Second, you can set the speaker pattern from 2.0 to 5/4 .1, giving you the ability to use four speakers up front for right and left or configure some really great bi-wires.

Surround Settings Here you can adjust gain height and HD-D.C.S effect type. The three choices are DYNAMIC, THEATER, and STUDIO.

EQ Setting This page is nice because it lets you adjust the bass and treble for front, back, center, and front high channels.

Audio Calibration There are 31 sliders between the frequencies of 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Sony explains: “You can display and adjust the frequency characteristics to be used during the Auto Calibration. If you select [User Reference] as the speaker compensation type using the menu of the AV receiver, the adjusted frequency characteristics will be applied in Auto Calibration.” This is a great feature for those installers that actually take the time and care to properly configure sound in a theater environment.

Multi Zone set-up Configure your zone 2 and 3 for CONTROL, ZONE, or MAIN, and choose whether zone 2 is variable volume. Sony also lets you set a preset volume for the main zone and zone 2.

Input Set-up There is nothing exceptional about this configuration page, but the wizard does make it easy to set up this beast. Plus, it makes a nice documentation tool – just take a screen grab and print it out.

Radio tuners Set up to 30 presets each for FM, AM and Sirius radio.

ShoutCast The HELP button on this page explains how to set up the Internet radio service and links you directly to ShoutCast to find your channels.

Quick Click Sony’s Quick Click is an interesting feature for a receiver, but I could never see myself using it. It basically turns your receiver into a universal remote, allowing you to operate connected components (via the receiver’s two IR outputs) through the on-screen display. You can set up to 20 macros. Sony provides key codes for a large number of device types and manufacturers including Lutron Grafik Eye and X10.

Network Since I believe in static IP addresses for all networked devices, the receiver’s NETWORKING tab is an important one. Here there are a couple of key features I must point out. If you are going to control this receiver over IP you must turn EXTERNAL CONTROL to ON. Also you need to turn NETWORK STANDBY to ON so that the network card does not turn off when the receiver is in STANDBY mode.

System The SYSTEM page has a couple of key features to point out. One is the ability to turn RS-232 control on or off. You can also set STANDBY to AUTO or MANUAL. The most important tab, SOFTWARE UPDATE, is one that I hope will bring future goodies. Perhaps soon, when we click the UPDATE button, more streaming services and maybe some control system logic will magically appear.

Inputs/Outputs and the 4-Port Switch

The rear panel of the 5600ES looks pretty much like other receivers in its class except for one notable addition: a very handy four-port network hub switch (discussed below). Unfortunately, Sony follows the age-old practice of many receiver manufacturers: The powered zone 2 is shared with the rear surround outputs. For many consumers this configuration doesn’t make sense. Most consumers will want 7.1 surround from this receiver. Maybe half of those consumers will want to use zone 2. But very few will be using the front high speaker configuration.Sony seems very amenable to changing the configuration so that the powered zone 2 is shared with the front high speaker output; few customers actually use bi-wire speakers or stacked front sound fields.While Sony falters slightly with the zone 2 configuration, the company makes up for it with an integrated four-port switch.

I started with my incoming LAN connection from a switch. From there I tested the feature with multiple devices, including a Control4 HC300 automation controller, Sony PlayStation 3, Control4 Media Player, Netgear EVA9000 media streamer, Control4 iPod dock, Control4 7-inch touchscreen, and even a Dell PC. To test how well the 5600ES switch works, I used one LAN port for control, and the others for simultaneous streaming content.At one point, I was playing ShoutCast on the receiver, Netflix on the PS3, a stored movie on the Control4 Media Player, and even typed some of this article while using Remote Desktop to a PC in another room.Guess what? Not a single hiccup! Try doing that with HDMI’s Ethernet channel!I was stunned at the quality. After all, you might not expect a network hub switch built into a receiver to be anything more than marketing “checklist” item. This feature is an instant winner for those single-room setups that have only one incoming LAN connection and multiple devices that need data at the receiver end. Additionally, I did hook up another small switch to the receiver with little noticeable loss of streaming and control, although I wouldn’t recommend going crazy stacking networking equipment.


When it comes right down to it, audio quality is the most important feature of a surround sound receiver. The STR-DA5600ES does not disappoint. Quality is far above what I would expect from a receiver at this price point. We tested the audio portion with speakers both large and small, in-wall and free standing. We tried brands including Sunfire, JBL, Phase Technologies, Sony, Dali, Totem, Jamo, TruAudio, Energy, and my personal favorite subwoofer company Velodyne. This receiver had the clarity to make bookshelf speakers sound amazing, and enough power to rock some free-standing towers. The fun thing was to adjust the EQ on the fly with the set-up manager on my laptop. During movies I felt immersed in all the sound. I was impressed with the improvement in surround modes over past Sony models. With Digital Cinema Audio Calibration (DCAC) this piece was easy to tweak to any listener’s preferences. Did I mention the funny looking new calibration mic? It is now a bar with two mics labeled right and left, spaced about the same distance as the ears. Good thinking! Now if they could figure out a way to compensate for my acoustically unfriendly head being in the room we’d be set.

AM/FM Who still uses this? Not being a fan of broadcast radio myself, I was surprised at the sound quality. The tuner was impressive, bringing in some stations I can’t usually access around these parts. I could never call AM/FM radio crystal clear, but this was one time I actually stopped to listen for a while.

ShoutCast, Rhapsody Both ShoutCast and Rhapsody Internet radio services are simple to configure through the receiver’s set-up menu, and the Sony GUI makes the services easy to navigate. Nothing fancy here, but a nice feature to be sure. In addition to these music services, you can access photos, music and video stored on the home network. The receiver is DLNA-compliant, making it especially easy to stream from DLNA-compatible servers.Here’s the bummer: The full Bravia Internet Video (BIV) service is not available through this product, as it is for many Sony TVs, Blu-ray players and the forthcoming $129 SMP-N100 media player. Therefore, you won’t find Pandora, Netflix, Amazon, Slacker and other Internet niceties.

Zone 2 Audio The sound from zone 2 is excellent. For bookshelves or in-ceiling (even outdoor speakers as I tested) this receiver works. As mentioned earlier, I would prefer zone 2 on the front high speakers rather than the rear surrounds so I could still get 7.1 audio. But for what it is it does, zone 2 works well on the 5600ES. Discrete audio selection is awesome. Control it easily via the free iPhone control app or a third-party control system (discussed below).One note: zone 2 audio must be supplied to the receiver via analog inputs.


For video, let’s start with the sexiest feature: 3D pass-through. I did a head-to-head test and there was no visible difference between 3D supplied directly to the display or through the Sony receiver – a jaw-dropping experience at this price.Video quality gets a big boost from Faroudja, whose famous chipset provides the DCDi 1080p upscaling for this receiver. DCDi, or directional correlation de-interlacing, takes all of the jagged edges on a video and adds brand new information to fill the gaps. It’s nice, and fairly unusual, to see this type of scaler inside a receiver. If Sony keeps up, we just may have an acceptable all-in-one solution yet.In our tests, the 5600ES did a flawless job with upconversion, getting rid of pesky jagged edges even on my old VHS collection. Yes I said VHS. You know you have them. I do too, and being the geek that I am, I tried them with the receiver. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The built-in video scaling on this device is terrific and a sure sign from Sony Studios (which lent a hand in the design of the receiver) that there are big things to come.HDMI on the receiver works exactly as advertised, so I won’t go too far into a standard we love to hate. But I will say it’s nice that the receiver supports the audio return channel (ARC) of HDMI 1.4 – a feature that not many integrators and enthusiasts have embraced. If you’re using an ARC-compatible display for broadcast video – or better yet YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming service – you can extend the audio through the receiver via the same HDMI cable that feeds A/V to the display…

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Posted by chantal Tue, 12 Oct 2010 16:45:00 GMT