Sony unveils two new ES receivers that are the first devices with Control4 builtin, plus one without

Wondering where Sony would go next with its high-end line of ES receivers? The answer is apparently home automation. As we've seen the segment heat up with competition from companies like your cable TV provider and even Google (does anyone remember Android@Home?), Control4 and Sony have announced at CEDIA 2012 that they are partnering up to create a simpler option for the custom install market. While it doesn't address our main gripe with Control4 -- that it needs an authorized dealer to install it or tweak the setup, with all the associated costs -- it does make the STR-DA5800ES (announced last week at IFA) and STR-DA2800ES receivers an easy choice for custom builds by integrating the company's software directly into them. That means less wiring and complication for setup, and not only do the receivers themselves tie in with the system, Sony's ES control apps for iOS and Android can also control the home's automated features.

The necessary license to activate the software costs $300 if you buy it along with the receiver, which will cost $2,099 for the STR-DA5800ES and $999 for the STR-DA2800ES. Still want the ES-level build quality, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and AirPlay support but aren't keen on home automation? Opt for the STR-DA1800ES, priced at $699 -- more details are in the press releases after the break.

Gallery | 12 Photos

Sony, Control4 ES receiver @ CEDIA

Show full PR text

SONY'S NEW ES LINE REDEFINES THE AUDIO/VIDEO RECEIVER
Receivers integrated with Control4® automation technology add home control to traditional AV functions

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 5, 2012 (CEDIA Booth #4025) – Today, in advance of the 2012 CEDIA Expo, Sony Electronics unveiled the world's first consumer Audio/Video Receiver fully integrated with home automation technology. In partnership with home-automation innovator Control4, the STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES receivers were developed to transform the home entertainment experience by integrating automation, support and streamline custom installation projects, and provide the A/V performance standards dealers and consumers expect from Sony.
"Sony ES receivers have set the standard for innovation in music reproduction, surround sound, video processing and multi-room entertainment," said Neal Manowitz, Director of Sony Electronics' Home Audio Group. "Our nearly 30-years of innovation in ES A/V products have delivered many firsts including high resolution DSD and PCM decoding, HD video processing, and streaming video content built-in. Now Sony is elevating the standard again by integrating Control4 home automation. Sharing a common vision with Control4, Sony's new products represent a commitment to expand automation to a broader consumer base and further support the growing Custom Install channel."

Redefining Integration and Automation
Sony's new ES line of AVRs with Control4 technology has powerful automation built-in. The STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES receivers include automation right out of the box with an easy set-up wizard to create and control a home entertainment system. These receivers come with customizable scenes which can be configured to perform selected tasks, all with a simple push of a button, including powering on your TV and components, changing to the correct inputs, and dimming lights for the perfect theater environment. Moreover, all that functionality can be controlled from Sony's free Apple iOS and Android ES apps. Additionally, the ES receivers include Control4 Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), Crestron Connected, and AMX Device Discovery to simplify integration regardless of the home control system.
Additionally, when the new ES receivers are purchased and installed by authorized dealers, fully programmable Control4 automation functionality can be enabled. With these fully Control4-enabled ES receivers, homeowners and their custom integrators can transform a media experience into a personalized home automation experience – including audio, video, lighting, thermostats, energy management, security and mobile access. The ES receivers with full Control4 automation free up rack space, simplify the wiring and installation process, and deliver more value to consumers.

Redefining Content and Performance
Sony's Elevated Standard (ES) receivers provide the most technologically advanced performance available, incorporating the latest in industrial design and audio/video engineering, including a pure audio grade block capacitor, custom made by Sony exclusively for the ES line. The ES' power transformer has the largest core size for this class of AV receiver, and has been separated from the AC line to eliminate residual operational noise. Coupled with the use of lead-free, nearly pure tin solder for connections, the ES line of receivers maintains signal quality, producing strong bass, distinctive high notes and rich indirect sound.
True sound reproduction is further enhanced by Sony's proprietary "Fish-bone" circuit board grounding system, where traditional multiple grounds are replaced with a single, thick copper wire of low impedance, thereby eliminating distortion and delivering robust bass levels and deeper, more textured sound overall. In addition to engineering and build quality, the new receivers continue to leverage Sony's industry leading digital sound processing, including Sony's Sound Optimizer correction technology, delivering rich playback at any volume.
Both the STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES A/V receivers incorporate Faroujda 4K upscaling and a variety of networking features, including the ability to be controlled by the Sony ES app for both iOS and AndroidTM devices. In addition to ear-pleasing sound, with the Sony Entertainment Network built-in, both ES receivers offer a full range of internet streaming services, including streaming both music and video content. Consumers can choose from over 30 streaming services including Netflix®, YouTubeTM, Pandora® and other content providers, making it the market's only receiver to incorporate the broadest range of streaming services.

Full Lineup
In addition to the STR-DA5800ES and the STR-DA2800ES A/V receivers, Sony will also bring to market a new entry-level ES model without automation features. The STR-DA1800ES features the same elevated standard of build quality and engineering, as well as has built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and AirPlay, with 6 HDMI in, 2HDMI out, and full Zone 2 support via HDMI.
Available to order immediately in the US and Canada, the STR-DA5800ES ($2,099 US MSRP) and the STR-DA2800ES ($999 US MSRP), as well as the STR-DA1800 ($699 US MSRP), will be available in October through authorized specialty and installation dealers.

For full specifications and a list of dealers, please visit www.sony.com/es.

SONY REDEFINES INNOVATION AT CEDIA 2012 WITH SOLUTIONS FOR CUSTOM INTEGRATORS AND HOME ELECTRONICS ENTHUSIASTS
New Audio/Video Receivers with Integrated Control4 Elevates Expectations While Other Major Innovations Including 4K TV Drive toward a New Standard in Excellence

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 5, 2012 (CEDIA Booth #4025) – One day before the opening of 2012 CEDIA Expo, Sony Electronics debuted game changing technology designed to revolutionize the home entertainment experience. Within the footprint of Sony's CEDIA exhibit there are A/V, HD, 3D and 4K products that promise to deliver solutions and products which will dazzle the custom integrators and home theater enthusiasts attending the show.
"CEDIA offers us a yearly platform to show the innovations we are developing to sit at the center of the high-end, custom-installed home theater," said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Home Division. "This year, we have taken steps to redefine innovation in home entertainment products. Whether your interest is home automation, or simply the best picture quality ever available, Sony's Elevated Standard (also known as ES) line of AV Receivers, front projectors and spectacular 4K TV will deliver the design, performance and features that dealers, installers and end-users have come to expect from us."

Redefining Home Automation
This year, three new AV receivers join Sony's ES range. But unlike any receiver ever brought to market, two of these models integrate Control4™ award-winning home automation technology. Both the STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES AV receivers incorporate the full Control4 "controller" functionality along with the expected features of a top home audio and video receiver.
Sony will also bring to market a new entry-level ES model without Control4 built in. The STR-DA1800 receiver features the same elevated standard of build quality and engineering, and has built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and AirPlay, with 6 HDMI in, 2HDMI out, full Zone 2 support via HDMI, RS-232 as well as IR. It's also certified to be used in home automation.
Sony's Elevated Standard receivers provide the most technologically advanced performance available, incorporating the latest in industrial design and audio/video engineering, including a pure audio grade block capacitor, custom made by Sony exclusively for the ES line. The ES AVRs use the highest quality components and proprietary manufacturing techniques to deliver top-notch performance and unmatched quality.
All three ES receivers will ship in October and are compatible with a full-range of control systems in addition to built-in Control4.

Sony's Big Screens Just Got Bigger
At IFA, in Berlin on August 29, Sony announced its first 4K capable TV. The new 84-inch set, model XBR-84X900, is equipped with a 4K LCD panel that delivers an image four times the resolution of Full HD (3840 x 2160) and creates an immersive viewing experience previously unavailable from a TV. The new XBR 4K TV, is on display in the Sony booth and will arrive in Sony Stores and select custom integrators in North America later this year.
Incorporating proprietary upscaling technology including the 4K X-Reality™ PRO picture engine, the new TV is designed to ensure that every frame looks clear and crisp with a 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) regardless of the content source. The accompanying 3D glasses are a light and comfortable, passive design, allowing viewers to enjoy 3D footage on an impressive large screen the same way they would in a movie theater. In addition to superb picture quality, Sony's XBR-84X900, 4K TV incorporates a 10 unit Live Speaker, side speaker system which is optimized for this large-sized screen and, drawing on Sony's storied sound signal-processing technology, these speakers envelop the viewer in virtual 5.1 surround sound. The side speakers are also detachable, allowing for removal to connect to an existing home theater system.

Are You Projecting?
On display will be the full range of SXRD front projectors from Sony; including the first 4K home theater projector, the VPL-VW1000ES which was introduced at CEDIA 2011 and has received critical acclaim. The newest member of the Sony ES front projector lineup, VPL-HW50ES, leverages the "reality creation" processing technology from the VPL-VW1000ES projector to create stunning images from traditional high definition content. The VPL-HW50ES projector also features 1700lm brightness and 100,000:1 dynamic contrast, allowing it to be used in media or family rooms with some ambient light. Dynamic Lamp Control and a built in 3D emitter allow for bright and crosstalk free 3D images. The VPL-HW50ES projector will be available in early October for $3,999 and will include two pairs of glasses as well as an additional lamp. These home projectors are part of the growing range of SXRD products, and offer cinemaphiles excellent picture quality and all the cutting edge features for their high-tech media rooms.

A Second Screen Expands the Home Theater
The new Xperia™ Tablet S, a thin and light device packed with original applications and Sony exclusive features, offers an immersive entertainment experience and features to better control the living room. Building on the popularity of the universal remote control feature in the previous model, the Xperia Tablet S has enhanced this feature by adding macro functionality, allowing the ability to turn on multiple devices of most brands, including TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player and stereo, with the touch of one button. Consumers can easily program sequenced commands such as "Watch TV" or "Play Music" and perform these sequences with one tap on the screen.
To further enhance the living room experience, Sony will offer a new app called Watch Now which enriches the TV watching experience. Watch Now provides an interactive, visual program guide fueled by personal preference and real-time trends from users' social media feeds. TV fans can use the app to discover new shows based on intelligent recommendations from the app, change the channel with a flick of the finger and share their thoughts on what they are watching via Twitter™, Facebook® and Get Glue. The Sony exclusive app will be available for download for the Xperia Tablet S in the US from Google Play™ at launch.

Continued Commitment to High-End Entertainment
Sony's CEDIA booth not only showcases innovative, cutting-edge, world's first products, but also demonstrates the company's continued commitment to both high-end home entertainment enthusiasts and the dedicated custom integrators who service them. Sony's custom install service programs are designed to help facilitate custom installers as they build sustainable, long-term relationships with consumers and businesses. Lucas concluded, "This formidable line-up of ES and home entertainment products demonstrates how Sony innovation continues to play a central role in the media rooms of today, and shapes the home entertainment experiences of the future."

For full specifications and a list of dealers, please visit www.sony.com/es.

Control4 and Sony Partner to Deliver Exceptional Media Room Experiences

Together Control4 and Sony launch the world's first AV receivers with built-in home automation.

Indianapolis, IN - CEDIA Expo Booth 4949 - September 5, 2012 at 5:00PM ET - Control4, a leading innovator in residential and light commercial automation systems, announced that Sony has integrated Control4® automation technology into its new ES receivers (introduced at CEDIA Expo) - delivering best-in-class AV performance and home automation within one easy-to-install and easy-to-use product. The ES receivers with Control4 automation are available for order now through authorized Control4 and Sony ES dealers.

This is a powerful partnership redefining the AVR category by delivering an unprecedented integrated AV and automation experience in a single device. Consumers will enjoy top AVR performance, unmatched 4K content and a stunning selection of streaming media services, plus the added lifestyle benefits of personalized automation that can transform a house into a smart home. With companies like Sony embracing and marketing the benefits of home automation, the custom installation industry benefits as a whole. Together, Sony and Control4 have created an exciting new avenue to drive consumer awareness for the category.

"We are delighted that Sony selected Control4 technology to revolutionize their receiver line and deliver a fantastic automation experience," said Martin Plaehn, Control4 CEO. "Enthusiastic dealer feedback validates the power and promise of our integrated solution. Together, Control4 and Sony are delivering a unique and strategic product for our dealers - providing them with a high impact addition to their product portfolio to grow their business."

"Sony has delivered many firsts to the industry and now we elevate the category standard again by integrating Control4 home automation in the new ES receiver line," said Mike Lucas, Senior Vice President of Sony Electronics' Home Division. "Our partnership with Control4 represents Sony's commitment to expand automation to a broader consumer base, delivering new opportunity to the growing custom installation market."

With a Control4 Activation License, authorized Control4 Dealers in the U.S. can enable full home controller functionality to automate whole-home lighting, adjust climate, arm the security system, lock the back door, and manage energy usage, all through the award winning Control4 on-screen UI. For Control4 Dealers, these fully integrated receivers deliver a comprehensive home automation solution with fewer boxes and cables, radically simplifying installation.

The STR-DA5800ES ($2,099 MSRP) and STR-DA2800ES ($999 MSRP) include Control4 automation out-of-the box to create and control a single-room home entertainment system, and are available for order now through authorized Control4 and Sony ES dealers. The Control4 Activation License to enable full-controller functionality is an additional $300 when purchased together with the new ES receivers in the U.S. from Control4.

For more information visit www.control4.com/sony and/or www.sony.com/es.