Sony STR-DH700

The Good Relatively inexpensive 7.1 AV receiver; three HDMI inputs; three component video inputs; automatic speaker calibration; Sirius-ready.

The Bad Subpar sound; no onscreen display; no onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

The Bottom Line Sony's STR-DH700 is an inexpensive 7.1 AV receiver, but its lackluster sound and dearth of features make it tough to recommend.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 4.0
  • Performance 5.0
5.4 Overall

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Features
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Performance
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Review

Sony STR-DH700

Even for savvy home theater enthusiasts, buying an AV receiver can be a chore, requiring hours hunched over spec sheets trying to figure out what each model offers. From a general perspective, the Sony STR-DH700 looks to offer a good value, as a 7.1 AV receiver with three HDMI inputs, widely available for less than $300. However, the details aren't as kind to Sony's receiver, as it lacks onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and an onscreen display--both of which are available on Pioneer's VSX-819H, which has a street price only slightly higher. We could have overlooked this if the STR-DH700 performed better than average for its price, but we were mostly underwhelmed by its sonics, although it's a decent choice for movies as long as you don't crank it too loud. While the STR-DH700 is a perfectly capable AV receiver at a budget price, we think most buyers will be better served by alternatives. Die-hard Sony fans, meanwhile, will need to spend more for one of the better-appointed receivers in the company's 2009 line-up.

Design
AV receivers are typically the workhorses of home theaters and the STR-DH700 has an appropriately utilitarian look for the task. The front panel is all black, and about two-thirds of the way down it bevels out, which is more visually appealing than the sheer design of last year's STR-DG820. There are two small knobs on the left--tone control and input selector--and a larger volume knob on the far right. Between the knobs is the LCD screen, which is of average size, although because the STR-DH700 lacks onscreen menus, it would be nice if the screen was a little larger.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $300
  • Brand Sony
  • Type AV receiver
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Frequency Response 10 - 70000 Hz
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Additional Features auto sound calibration
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