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WARNING - Auto Standby "Pass Through" Feature Generates a LOT of Heat When This Unit is Off
on November 2, 2013
* I've had this receiver for about six months now and after a few aggravations (most of them having to do with the clunky graphic user interface), I'm finally comfortable with what I have. The learning curve on this unit is pretty steep because the manual is NOT customer-friendly.
* However, there's something you need to know about one of the most touted features on this receiver. The Auto Standby option, which allows you to run sound and picture to your TV - even when this receiver is OFF - generates so much heat that you might want to consider disabling it.
* The way Auto Standby works in my case is I have a standard DVD player and a separate Blu-ray player. I take the HDMI outputs from each unit and plug them into the HDMI inputs on this receiver. I then run a third HDMI cord from the receiver - and plug it into my TV.
* This "pass through" ability is often confused with the HDMI Control "pass through" feature, which is key to all of this but it is NOT the same as keeping the receiver "ready" and "on" around-the-clock, which is what Auto Standby is all about. You access HDMI Control and Auto Standby via System Settings through the clunky graphic user interface (GUI Mode) with your TV on. You can also access GUI Mode without a TV - but it's a real pain, requiring you to have the manual nearby to guide you while using this receiver's remote control.
* The Auto Standby Mode is "supposed" to save power. But I've had two of these receivers and the FACT is - it doesn't. Since heat is the best subjective indicator of how much power is being used, this receiver should come with a warning label. When you turn your receiver off - and if you have Auto Standby ON or in the AUTO position - you'll see an indicator on the front panel that remains dimly lit around the clock, day and night. This by itself is NOT a big deal.
* What is a big deal is when Auto Standby is activated, this receiver will run HOT. I'm talking about more than 130 degrees HOT. Just run your hands over the top, bottom and side panels of this receiver and you'll discover - that while the receiver is "off" and while Auto Standby is on AUTO or ON - the left side of the metal casing is as warm as it normally is when you're listening to anything "live" while you're in the room. The temperature won't burn your hands, but it's definitely higher than the most aggravating summer day in Death Valley, California.
* Because of the high temperatures generated by this unit when it's "off" and in Auto Standby mode - any electronic gadget you stack above or below it WILL ALSO suffer. (I had to dump my vintage Sony audio cassette deck that worked like a dream for years - because the heat from this receiver, which was stacked below it - dried out the cassette deck's rubber pulleys and springs.)
* I've since disabled Auto Standby, even though whenever I want to play a DVD or a Blu-ray disc - I have to turn the receiver ON to take advantage of the "pass through" feature that runs sound and picture from the receiver into my TV.
* I know my "workaround" is a REAL PAIN, i.e., I can't get picture and sound from video components running into this stereo and out to my TV - unless this stereo is ON. And I also know disabling Auto Standby removes one of the most attractive features of this Sony line of stereo receivers.
* But while I love that I can STILL use fewer HDMI cords to run video into this receiver to get "big sound" - while using a single HDMI cord out from this receiver into my TV - I think you should weigh the cost vs. benefit of having Auto Standby in the "auto" or "on" position, night and day. For me, the hassle to turn this receiver on when I want to watch a DVD or a Blu-ray disc - is nothing compared to worries I have about how much heat is being put out when Auto Standby is on while I'm asleep at night in another room. Sorry.