This morning Sony rolled out a new line of entry-level A/V 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 STR-DG510 is a 6.1 channel receiver and is the least featured of the bunch. The release states that it offers 1080i pass-through, which means it probably won't be able to accept 1080p signals. It is XM Connect and Play-ready, so you'll only need to connect a XM Mini-Tuner to get reception--with a subscription, of course. Also included is the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration system, which should assist in setting the levels for your speakers. There's also the Portable Audio Enhancer, which supposedly makes compressed audio files--such as MP3s--sound better, although we haven't had any success with similar features in the past. Sony claims the STR-DG510 will deliver 100 watts to each of the channels. The STR-DG510 will be available in March with a list price of about $200.
The STR-DG710 and STR-DG810 also are 6.1 receivers and are the step-up models to the STR-DG510. Sony claims the STR-DG710 will deliver 105 watts to each channel, and the STR-DG810 steps it up to 110 watts per channels. The two receivers both offer HDMI "Active Intelligence," which supposedly is capable of detecting incoming signals and optimizing the receiver's settings. They both also offer a step-up to 1080p compatibility and also are capable of accepting up to eight channels of uncompressed digital audio over the HDMI connection. Sony also 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, both models will be XM Connect and Play-ready. The STR-DG710 and the STR-DG810 will be released in March with list prices of approximately $300 and $400, respectively.
The STR-DG910 is a 7.1 AV receiver and is the most fully featured of these new models. It includes the functionality of the step-down models, but also adds onscreen setup. The STR-DG910 will be available in April for about $500.