Top positive review
85 of 86 people found this helpful
Good receiver. No S-Video inputs or outputs, though.
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!