We preview Sony's entry-level AV receiver, the STR-DG710, which offers 1080p compatibility and features Sony's Digital Media Port.
Quick take: At its 2007 show, Sony rolled out a new line of entry-level AV receivers with HDMI connectivity. Unfortunately, the press release didn't announce many of the details we're interested in--such as the number of HDMI inputs or video upconversion specifics--but we were able to get a broad outline of what the new line will look like. The four new receivers are the STR-DG510, STR-DG710, STR-DG810, and STR-DG910.
The STR-DG710 is a 6.1 receiver and is the step-up model to the STR-DG510. Sony claims the STR-DG710 will deliver 105 watts to each channel. The receivers also will offer HDMI "Active Intelligence," which supposedly is capable of detecting incoming signals and optimizing the receiver's settings. The STR-DG710 also steps up to 1080p compatibility and is capable of accepting up to eight channels of uncompressed digital audio over the HDMI connection. Sony is touting the new Digital Media Port feature, which allows consumers to interface with any one of four accessories (sold separately) that provide connectivity to iPods, Bluetooth-enabled audio devices (such as Sony Ericsson's Walkman music phones), streaming network audio, or Sony's own Network Walkman portable music player. Also new for 2007 is what Sony calls "Bravia Theater Sync"--that's the company's proprietary name for Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), a feature that lets similarly supported products operate with each other when connected via HDMI. When properly implemented, it allows (for instance) a connected TV to power up and automatically switch to the correct input when the DVD player is selected. Like the DG510, the STR-DG710 will be XM Connect-and-Play ready, so you'll only need to connect an XM Mini-Tuner to get reception--with a subscription, of course. The STR-DG710 will be released in March with a list price of approximately $300. Sony did not release any details regarding the differences between the STR-DG710 and the STR-DG810.