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on April 26, 2007
I've been playing with my STR-DG710 for two days, and this is my early review. The sound quality is good (only 1% Total Harmonic Distortion or "THD") in stereo, but gets ridiculous (10% THD!) when listening in surround sound. I realize that this is an entry-level video receiver, and that most people aren't really fanatical about sound accuracy when they are watching their special effects laden 6.1 surround sound Hollywood blockbuster. Nevertheless, any THD over 1% is noticeable, so this specification should be noted.

The same people who care about THD also wouldn't be using a receiver as their video switcher, but Sony did a good job with this unit. If you use either or both of the HDMI, the receiver doesn't mess with the signal and sends it as is to the TV, which is great. The only limitation as far as this hands-off approach goes, is that if you want to take advantage of a 96 kHz surround source, your video resolution is limited to 720p or 1080i. In other words, if you go with the highest quality audio (96 kHz sampling frequency), you won't be able to also use the highest quality video (1080p). In case you really want the best of both worlds, hook up the HDMI straight from your source to the TV, and connect the audio from the source to the receiver.

Also about the unit's video switching capabilities, it switches fine, but it doesn't convert. Other receivers, even in the same price range, will take a composite input (yellow RCA connector), a component input (red, blue, green connectors), and an S-Video input, and will output all of them to a component output to your TV, for instance. This is good because it means that you never have to switch anything on the TV, just leave it on Video 1 (or whatever) and the receiver does the conversion. This Sony unit doesn't do that. It sends the component inputs to the component output, the composite inputs to the composite output, and the HDMI inputs to the HDMI output. This means that you will need to switch the TV to Video 1, Video 2, etc, depending on how different your source outputs are. This is no big deal, and you can just program a macro on your remote, but it's also worth mentioning.

Speaking of inputs and outputs, most stores (including Amazon) and reviewers are taking Sony's word for gospel on this, but they are all wrong. This receiver has no S-Video inputs or outputs. The only site I saw that got this right is Crutchfield. They probably looked at the back of the unit before publishing their specs. Even the SonyStyle site says how this receiver has "3 S-Video Inputs and 1 S-Video Output" - it does not. Check out the photo, here on Amazon or any other site that sells it, there are no S-Video jacks on the back. Considering how this receiver already has component, composite, and HDMI, I realize I shouldn't be complaining, but in my case, with a couple of older non-HD components (2nd Gen Tivo, for example), I could have really used S-Video ins and outs.

Lastly, and this is good, I promise, Sony did a good job allowing for customization of the unit. You can switch inputs around, rename inputs ("Tivo" instead of "Video 1") and radio stations, and tweak all kinds of levels for that perfectly balanced sound.

The STR-DG710 is a fine, flexible audio/video receiver for a good price. It sounds good and has a lot of special effects for you to play with if you dive into the manual. Now that you know its limitations you can make a better comparison with other low-end receivers. Hope this helps!
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on October 16, 2007
I'm not going to get into many technical details. Not because I can't but because at this price range you KNOW what you are getting. With that said this unit has performed very well. Most of us will never run this at the high end of the volume spectrum, so distortion isn't an issue. The average person will be more than satisfied with this unit. One thing I will mention is that the "Auto Calibration" (for speaker set-up) using the included mic was not close enough for me. Most people probably wouldn't notice. There is a Robust menu for customizing your sound with many features found in higher end receivers. The remote is a little cheesy, as most are lately. I'm using it in a smaller home theater in my bedroom. Main/only home theater use would be fine, plenty of power and way better than the receivers that are in most "canned" systems (all in one's). Good receiver/great price (approx. two hundred dollar range).
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on February 15, 2008
While Sony touts this as a 5.1 or 6.1 system with 24/96 LPCM, this not true, it auto converts all PCM signals to 2.1 stereo! Why? I have no idea, but my HD DVD player only outputs HDMI in PCM sound! I got this for the HDMI audio inputs! I knew 24/96 was the limit, but there's next to nothing out there in 24/196 so I figured, who cares? But you have to have your audio output set to bitstream to get 5.1! This means that if the DVD has 5.1 Dolby or 5.1 PMC you have to take 5.1 Dolby or listen to PCM in stereo. I don't know why you would want to do that? So the PCM is useless unless you are still listening with two speakers, but who buys a receiver like this for stereo?

Otherwise I found the menu irritating but manageable, the instruction manual is garbage and confusing.

(updated)
I called Sonyt (an hour and two techs) they say it should have 5.1 PCM through HDMI. I am exchanging through Amazon (completely free, Amazon sends out a new unit, I send back the bad one postage paid in 30 days!) and I am hoping the PCM works this time!

I have read several reviews raving about the PCM and several saying it didn't work, so it must be a manufacturing issue.
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on December 27, 2007
After I hooked it up to my 12" Infinity sub and surround speakers, the sound is excellent. I was able to get sound and video from my HD DVD player but I could not get sound from my CD player via HDMI.I had to use the super audio rca connections. I wish it would have more music choices(equalizer). It only has around five.For the price, It is an excellent 6.1 receiver.Sony SSF-6000 Floor Standing 4-way Speaker Pair. A set of these speakers for the front will go very well with this receiver.
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on February 19, 2008
If you jumped on the HDTV bandwagon early and have the following problem, you'll appreciate this receiver. This review focuses almost solely on the video switching and audio input assignment capabilities. Sony is the king of video. However, they have never claimed their low-end stereo equipment to be market-leading. All of the goodies are usually reserved for their ES series. Having paid more than $2000 for my last receiver (I woke up and sold it), I was floored to see that I could even purchase a receiver for this price. Interestingly I have been going receiverless and was not even in the market for one.

I had a problem. My HDTV is a few years old and the only digital input is DVI (DVI video is right there with HDMI but has no audio). Worse, there is only one. I purchased a HDMI/DVI converter cable that passes video only and connected the audio via old-school composite cables. That worked wonderfully for the HD DVR. The problem came when I added the Playstation 3. I started looking at HDMI switches. Good solution for the video but quickly realized I had no way to input the two audio sources to the same input. Yes I know I could have jumped back a couple of decades and used a switch from Radio Shack but I was trying to move forward. So-I found a HDMI switch that converted to DVI and passed audio. This switch alone, from Geffen, goes for $299. Definitely not for me.

So when I found this receiver with HDMI switching I was most pleased. The big question was, with the HDMI cable coming out of the receiver, headed towards the TV, carrying digital video -and- audio, can this thing still assign another digital audio source and somehow override the audio portion of the HDMI cable. Amazingly yes. I almost made the mistake of buying a receiver 5 times the cost just to switch DVI.

The gist: surely a bunch of you out there bought HDTVs in the days of DVI. It was easy to get by with a HDMI-to-DVI cable but now in the days of HD DVR/Blu-ray/PS3/Apple TV and more to come, this receiver does a heck of job expanding your options. Most importantly it does it all digitally and it does it very affordably.
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on June 1, 2014
I got one of these amps in '07 to match up HDMI with a new TV. After endless hair pulling due to the design and amp documentation, which is about as logically organized as a Congressional subcommittee report, we did actually get HDMI inputs from a SONY DVD player and Apple TV to work. No one seems to want to give a simple explanation of what the receiver can & cannot do WRT HDMI, or how components need to be connected to it using HDMI. Instead, the manual, which was obviously written by electronic engineers, takes the longest route from point A, and never exactly gets to point B. So, if you just want to hook up a DVD player to the amp's DVD HDMI port and get some sound out of it, here it is in simple "I just want to use the thing" speak:

YOU WILL GET NO SOUND THROUGH THE DVD HDMI PORT!!!!! YOU HAVE TO CONNECT THE DVD PLAYER'S COAX OR OPTICAL OUT TO THE STR-DG710's VIDEO 1 OPTICAL, OR DVD COAX PORT!!!!! PICK ONE!

1) connect an HDMI cable from the "OUT" HDMI port on the amp to an HDMI port on your TV. If it has more than one, use the HDMI1 port
2) connect your DVD player's HDMI out port to the STR-DG710's DVD HDMI port
3) connect either an optical cable or audio coaxial cable from your DVD player to either the Video 1 optical input port, or better, use an audio coaxial cable from the DVD player's coax output to the DVD coax in port on the STR-DG710
4) NO, you are not done!
5) Turn the bloody amp on, as well as the DVD player
6) Hit the "Amp Menu" button on the remote, see the front panel of the amp
7) Use the scroll buttons on the receiver to scroll down the menu to "5 - Audio"
8) Press the center (or "Enter") button taking you to the next level,
9) Find the "D. Assign" level and press the scroll right button,
10) Find the command "DVD-DVD". press enter. This assigns the DVD coax port to the DVD HDMI or other DVD inputs.

With the TV on, set the HDMI to whatever port you assigned the amp. Turn on your DVD player and you should be able to get picture and some pretty cool sound using DVD on the remote.

BUT, if you don't want to do any of that stuff above? Just run your HDMI out from the DVD player to the "Video 2" input on the STR-DG710 and it'll work just fine, picture & sound, no muss, no fuss. What we ended up doing is running the Apple TV box via HDMI to the Video 2/BR port and using an HDMI cable & coax to the DVD HDMI & DVD coax ports respectively. I still had to "assign" the DVD coax port to the DVD coax out.

So, folks, follow all this and you should be in busines. By now you either have it working or, like me, are ready to organize a mob carrying pitchforks & flaming torches to descent upon the Sony Engineering Center. Good luck!
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on September 10, 2008
I purchased the Sony DG710 after an older Sony kicked the bucket (to be fair, it was 10 years old).

Everyone has their own setups, so here's mine:

Wharfedale front channels
Advent back channels
AR subwoofer
DVD player component audio
DVR component audio
PS2 optical audio
Wii composite audio
PC composite audio

Unlike most, I prefer to run the video sources straight to the TV so they don't have to use this receiver as a passthrough. I can't confirm whether this results in a better picture, but I'm guessing it does.

Thus, my review is only audio-related.

And wow...is it excellent. Crisp, clear, and good enough to pick up the imperfections in my PC's terrible soundcard. It can get substantailly loud without distortion and comes with a great range of settings.

The unit is well-built, doesn't get too hot and looks nice. The composite inputs on the front are a huge plus, and all the dials and buttons respond well. The display is awesome, telling you what you're listening to (2/0, 3/2.1, etc.)

The only dings: I'd really appreciate a MUTE button on the unit itself (in case I need quick silence and can't find the remote)...and, although I have no idea if this feature even exists, it'd be great if you could teach the receiver an 'acceptable' sound plane so you don't get blasted by the DVR, for example, after watching a DVD.

I can't speak for the XM feature, or, arguably the most important part, the HDMI. But it does produce great sound. Which is what matters to me.
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on April 4, 2008
This receiver is perfect for my needs. That's why I gave it 5 stars. I purchased this unit after returning a STR-DG510 because I made a poor choice originally. That's not a knock on the 510 because for the money it's a great value. But the 710 with it's full HD 1080P compatibility, it's handling of the audio through the HDMI cable, the auxiliary AV inputs on the front panel, the power, and the quality sound gave me all reasons I needed to upgrade. I had the advantage of hearing a 710 which my son had purchased so I was pre-sold but I didn't have the correct model number when I first ordered which meant a return and reorder.

Amazon was great with the transaction. They sent me the return confirmation number immediately, provided the printed label on-line for the repacked unit and I sent it back via UPS. They gave me a full refund and I am completely satisfied with both the new receiver and with Amazon's excellent customer service.

This receiver costs more than the first one I ordered (nearly double) but it really delivers and for this price is still a value in my view. Coupled with a Harmony remote which allows me to pre-program all the features I want with one button -- watch cable/dvr, watch blue ray videos, play PS3 games, view video cassettes (I know, what are they?) or listen to music. The Harmony sends the signal and the 710 responds beautifully.

As usual, I'll probably still do some tweaking down the road but for now, I'm extremely pleased with my purchase.

Dave
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on January 4, 2008
To me and my ears, it sounds great! I don't get concerned about numbers and specs. I'm only concerned about how it sounds to my ears. The remote is "cheapo" and light weight. The remote lacks the functions of being able to change the volume and/or balance of each channel FROM the remote. But you can/do program the audio levels from the front of the receiver. Of course, the remote has a master volume up and down. But don't think, no matter how tech savy you are, that you'll program the individual speaker audio levels without reading the manual. Without following step by step programming instructions from the manual, you'll just have to rely on the auto program feature where you plug in a cheap little mic and place it where you will be sitting and at ear level. That works OK but I much prefer to set up the sudio to my preferences and not to the preferences of those who engineered this amp. But, it really does sound super! Good amp for the money. But definitely use the HDMI cable. The audio just won't be the true 6.1 (or 5.1 in my case) unless you use the digital connections. After its set up, no problem. I'm really enjoying the surround sound with my HDTV.
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on January 28, 2008
Purchased the Sony STR-DG710 6.1 Home Theater Receiver to match with Sony 5.1 speaker system and Visio HDTV ...the sound is 'unreal'! So realistic that my dogs go wild thinking someone/thing is in or outside the house.

The two (2) HDMI inputs and single HDMI output made the DVR and DVD installation so easy I was up and running in 15 minutes. An additional bonus is using the DVR (cable box) HDMI input allows you to shut-off the HDTV and listen to the TV station - great for both talk/sport shows and the cable music channels (which I never tuned in before).

Great product, great sound, and better price - 5 Star!
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