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XM Ready home theatre receiver with HDMI switching

4 people say

Product Code: 158STDG800S

Overview Features Details Accessories

Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes


Digital Cinema Sound (DCS): Digital Cinema Sound is the concept name of the surround technology for home theater developed by Sony. DCS uses the DSP (Digital Signal Processor) technology to reproduce the sound characteristics of an actual cinema cutting studio in Hollywood. When played at home, DCS will create a powerful theater effect that mimics the artistic combination of sound and action as envisioned by the movie director. The DCS soundfields used in this receiver include:

  • Digital Cinema Sound EX A: reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment "Cary Grant Theater" cinema production studio, great for watching most any type of movie
  • Digital Cinema Sound EX B: reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment "Kim Novak Theater" cinema production studio, ideal for watching science fiction or action movies with lots of sound effects
  • Digital Cinema Sound EX C: reproduces the sound characteristics of the Sony Pictures Entertainment scoring stage, ideal for watching musicals or films where orchestra music is featured in the soundtrack
  • Headphone Theater: allows you to experience a theater-like environment while listening through a pair of headphones

Dolby Pro Logic IIx: Dolby Pro Logic IIx furthers the matrix decoding of Dolby Pro Logic II to decode audio signals recorded on two channels into up to 7.1 playback channels, including the surround back channel. Dolby Pro Logic IIx also allows 5.1-channel sources to be played in up to 7.1 channels. The mode can be selected according to the source. There are 3 Dolby Pro Logic IIx modes; Music, Cinema and Game.

Auto Format Direct: The Auto Format Direct (A.F.D.) mode allows you to select the decoding mode you want for your audio sound. When you select A.F.D. Auto, the receiver automatically detects the type of audio signal being input (Dolby Digital, DTS, or standard 2-channel stereo) and performs the proper decoding if necessary. You can also select Pro Logic, Pro Logic II Movie, Pro Logic II Music, Pro Logic II Game, Pro Logic IIx Movie, Pro Logic IIx Music, Pro Logic IIx Game, Neo:6 Cinema, Neo:6 Music, or Multi Stereo to apply the appropriate decoding for movies or normal stereo sources such as CDs.

Surround Modes: This receiver incorporates a wide variety of surround modes to bring you maximum enjoyment from your audio and video software. The surround modes include:

  • Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Digital EX
  • Dolby Pro Logic
  • Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie, Music, and Game)
  • Dolby Pro Logic IIx (Movie, Music, and Game)
  • DTS
  • DTS 96/24
  • DTS-ES (Discrete 6.1 and Matrix 6.1)
  • DTS Neo:6 (Cinema and Music)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. A (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. B (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Cinema Studio Ex. C (Digital Cinema Sound)
  • Portable Audio
  • Hall
  • Jazz Club
  • Live Concert
  • Multi Stereo (all active channels)

Headphone Sound Fields: When headphones are connected, you can select the following sound fields:

  • Headphone 2CH: outputs the sound in stereo, 2-channel sources bypass the sound field processing, multi-channel surround formats are downmixed to 2 channels
  • Headphone Direct: outputs analog signals with no sound field or tone processing
  • Headphone Multi: outputs the analog signals input to the Multi Channel Input jacks
  • Headphone Theater (Digital Cinema Sound): allows you to experience a theater-like environment

Surround Back Decoding: This function lets you select the decoding mode for the surround back signals of the multi-channel input stream. When you select "SB Auto" and the input stream contains 6.1-channel information, the appropriate decoder is applied to decode the surround back signal (Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES Matrix, or DTS-ES Discrete decoder). When you select "SB On", Dolby Digital EX is applied when the output channel is 6.1 and Dolby Digital EX or Dolby Pro Logic IIx is applied when the output channel is 7.1. When "Off" is selected, no surround back decoding is performed.

Sound Field Customizing: Depending on the Mode selected, you can adjust the following parameters:

  • Front Balance: Left +1 to +8, Center Balance, Right +1 to +8 (17 steps)
  • Center Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Left Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Right Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Surround Back Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments (if only 1 surround back speaker is connected)
  • Surround Back Left Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments (if 2 surround back speakers are connected)
  • Surround Back Right Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments (if 2 surround back speakers are connected)
  • Subwoofer Level: -10dB to +10dB in 1dB increments
  • Dynamic Range Compressor: allows you to compress the dynamic range of the sound track, select standard or maximum compression, or off (only works with Dolby Digital sources)

Digital Decoding: You can choose auto decoding or PCM for the digital audio inputs. Auto will decode the signal in its original form (Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM, etc), PCM decodes the signal to 2-channel.

Speaker Setup: The Speaker Setup menu allows you to set the size, distance from your seating position, and location of the speakers connected to the receiver. The following adjustments are available:

  • Subwoofer: Yes, No
  • Front Speakers: Large, Small
  • Center Speaker: Large, Small, No
  • Surround Speakers: Large, Small, No
  • Surround Back Speakers: Dual, Single, No
  • Front Speaker Distance: 3 to 23 feet in 1 foot steps
  • Center Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 5 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Left Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Right Speaker Distance: range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Back Speaker Distance: when 1 surround back speaker is used, range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Back Left Speaker Distance: when 2 surround back speakers are used, range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Back Right Speaker Distance: when 2 surround back speakers are used, range is from the front speaker distance setting to 15 feet closer than the front speaker distance setting
  • Surround Speaker Position: set based on the location of the surround speakers, side low, side high, behind low, behind high
  • Crossover Frequency: set crossover point for speakers set to small, choose 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 140, or 160 Hz

Auto Calibration: The STR-DG800 is equipped with Digital Cinema Auto Calibration Technology which uses the included microphone to automatically check the speaker connections, adjust the speaker output levels, and calculate the distance from each speaker to the listening position. The microphone has an 18' cord attached and has a threaded insert on the bottom so it can be mounted to a tripod. Note: The auto calibration feature does not measure or adjust the subwoofer level output.

A/V Sync: The audio output can be delayed so that the time gap between the audio output and the visual display is minimized. This is especially helpful when you are using a large LCD or plasma TV or a projection TV. The adjustment range is 0 to 200 ms in 10 ms steps.

Equalizer: You can adjust the tonal quality (bass and treble level) of the front speakers from -10dB to +10dB in 0.5dB steps.

Multi-Channel Input: Although this unit features built-in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and DTS processing, it also has a 5.1-channel input for use with an external multi-channel decoder (SACD, DVD-Audio, etc). When using the multi-channel input the STR-DG800's speaker set up circuitry is bypassed, so all bass management and speaker level adjustment must be made on the connected component.

XM Ready: Using an optional XM Mini Tuner and Mini Tuner Home Dock, you can take advantage of the variety and sound quality of XM Satellite radio. XM offers over 150 channels of music, news, sports, and talk radio and even has weather and traffic information in several major markets. The channel number, channel name, channel category, artist name, and song title are listed on the STR-DG800's display. Up to 30 XM stations can be stored as presets and recalled in the same way AM and FM stations are. A subscription to XM Satellite Radio is required.

Tuner: The STR-DG800 has 30 presets each for AM, FM, and XM, for a total of 90. In addition to preset and auto tuning, stations can be tuned directly by frequency or XM channel number.

Two Channel Mode: The 2 channel button sets the receiver to power only the front left and right speakers, no surround and no subwoofer. 2 channels sources bypass the sound field processing and multi channel sources are down-mixed to 2 channels.

Analog Direct: The direct feature amplifies the source without any processing, only the volume and front speaker balance adjustments are active.

Video Conversion: The STR-DG800 allows you to convert composite video signals to S-video signals, and composite and S-video signals to component video. This can simplify the connection from the receiver to your TV.

Station and Source Naming: Each preset station and input source may be given an index name of up to 8 characters. For example, two VCRs can be displayed as 8MM and VHS.

Sleep Timer: The unit may be set to automatically turn off after 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

Dimmer: You can adjust the brightness of the display in 3 steps.

Remote Control

Multi-brand Remote: The supplied remote is pre-coded to control this Sony receiver, Sony video CD players, Sony DVD recorders, Sony DVD/HDD combos, Sony DVD/VCR combos, Sony tuners, Sony hard disc recorders, Sony Blu-ray disc recorders, Sony PSX, plus Sony and other brands of CD players, DAT decks, MD recorders, cassette decks, LD players, VCRs, DVD players, TVs, DSS receivers, and cable boxes.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Assignable HDMI Inputs: The receiver has 2 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. The inputs can be assigned to specific sources such as VIDEO 1, SACD, MD/Tape, etc.

Front Panel Inputs: The STR-DG800 features a set of front panel inputs with left and right RCA audio jacks, an RCA composite video jack, and an optical digital input.

Speaker Outputs: All the speaker outputs are binding post connectors, including front A left and right, front B left and right, center, surround left and right, and surround back left and right. The binding posts are not 5-way because a plastic collar prevents their use with spade lugs, but they will accept bare wire, single banana, and dual banana plugs. The front A and B speaker pairs are wired in parallel.

XM: This proprietary terminal allows you to connect an optional XM Mini Tuner Home Dock.

Multi Channel Input: Eight analog RCA inputs are used for outboard 5.1 or 7.1 channel processors. Note: The signal connected to the multi-channel input is not output to the MD/Tape or Video 1 analog audio outputs.

SACD Output: No sound is output from the receiver when you play a Super Audio CD on an SACD player connected to the Optical digital input or Coaxial digital input labeled SA-CD/CD In. You must connect an SACD player via the analog input labeled SA-CD/CD In or the multi-channel analog input.

Assignable Component Video Inputs: The receiver has 2 component video inputs which can be assigned to specific sources such as VIDEO 1, SACD, MD/Tape, etc.

HD Component Video Pass-Through: This unit features 2 component video inputs and a component video monitor output. These jacks feature an 80 MHz bandwidth, making them capable of passing high-definition video signals.

Digital Input/Output: In addition to the 2 coaxial digital inputs and the 4 optical digital inputs, there is 1 optical digital output to feed a digital recording component, such as a CD or MiniDisc recorder. All the digital audio jacks will support 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, and 96 kHz sampling frequencies.

Headphones: When headphones are plugged into the full-size 1/4" jack on the front panel, all the speakers are automatically muted.

Sony STR-DG800 - Silver Reviews

4 people say

Reviewer: Arthur from San Francisco, CA  
My initial impression of this receiver is that it is just awful. The gigantic remote was defective right out of the box. The first button I needed to push to activate the menu does not make proper contact, so sometimes I have to push it ten times to get it to work.

The manual is incomplete in some respects and very confusing in others.

The design of the receiver itself is not particularly intuitive. There is a digital coaxial cable connection for SACD/CD, but a note in the manual that SACD audio will not be output if you use only this connection. It also seems strange that the DVD input has only a digital coaxial cable connection and not an optical one.

Another disappointment was that I could not use the dimmer mode to have the display go blank after switching functions. It has three brightness levels, but no blank display. So there is always something illuminated.

I replaced a Sony DE845 with the DG800. The 845 had a nice LCD remote that controlled many more functions on other components than the 800. It also allowed the display to be blank by using the dimmer function.

I have used Sony components for many years.

Excellent Receiver with just the right features at July-27-06
Reviewer: Neil from Baltimore, MD  
I have been looking for a Digital Receiver for a 2 years. Price and excesive features were the barriers to date.

Sony has built a simple to use receiver that allows one to connect 2 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. My Comcast Motorola DCT-6412 works great connected via DVI/HDMI and also Component.

The receiver detects the best audio for the connection made. Sometimes you have to set the audio type to get sound going.

Sony has done a great job packaging features that are useful and needed into this cost effective unit.

The 2 negative things are: 1) The manual is terrible. Each topic is covered independently. It's more of a Resource guide than a manual. Ther is no Setup guide explaining the receiver in simple concepts. 2) The remote is huge and long. Why Sony can't make a remote like the Logitech Harmony I don't know.

Great Value! July-20-06
Reviewer: Garrett from Philadelphia, PA  
I was a little concerned after seeing the other terribly negative review written here but I bought the unit after fully researching my options and am very satisfied.

I was seeking an inexpensive receiver to act as my hub for my basement video game entertainment area and this certainly lives up to all the promises made by Sony. It may be a bit short on power, have an auto audio setup that is not as great as Pioneer's, and require some additional setup for the HDMI switching but this is only when compared to other HDMI receivers currently on the market, and none of those dip below $800, with most exceeding $1000. I had no problem with optical audio inputs and the entire setup was very simple using the owner's manual.

Please note that this unit should actually be specified as having a switchable HDMI "passthrough" ability as opposed to the switching offered on the models costing 2-3 times what this Sony does. This unit allows you to input 2 HDMI sources and select which is the active output, however it simply passes the signal through the receiver and does not decode it. For instance, if you hook up a HD-DVD player to a HDMI input and then have the HDMI output go to your TV for the picture you will need to then connect the TV audio output back to the receiver in order to receive the audio, the receiver does not decode and seperate the audio from the video signal. This is where most of the savings is in this unit and as long as you know what you are getting you will not be disappointed, I've found mine works great! Definitely a terrific value.

Would not reliably recognize Dolby bitstream May-02-06
Reviewer: Philip A. Spicer from Broken Arrow, OK  
After seeing a receiver this affordable that offered HDMI switching, I had to have one.  Unfortunately, it went back the very next day.  When connected to my Sony HD DVR, this receiver would often fail to recognize a Dolby Digital bitstream fed through the optical input.  This means I would not get any audio whatsoever until I switched the unit off and back on or changed back and forth between different inputs.  That was not acceptable to me.  Also, the auto speaker setup doesn't seem to be as accurate as those offered on Yamaha and Pioneer receivers.  This was a disappointing product because I really wanted the affordable HDMI switching.

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