VIDEO PERFORMANCE By current high-end standards, the Sunfire's video routing and processing are basic. Composite- or S-video sources get transcoded to the component outputs at their native resolution (480i) with no upscaling, and that's about it. While the setup menus appear on the component out, the defeatable "pop-ups" that display volume and surround-mode can be seen only through the composite- and S-video outputs.
The three HDMI inputs get switched but not scaled or processed in any way. HDMI from my Panasonic DVD player passed fine at all its resolutions, including upscaled 1080i. Video quality on 1080i or 720p signals via HDMI looked fine, and component signals also passed through the Sunfire unscathed. Transcoded S-video did look barely softer, but if you're still watching a composite-/S-video source, do you really deserve better?
THE BOTTOM LINE It's true that $5,000 is a lot of coin for an A/V receiver, and next to models half its cost, the Sunfire Theater Grand Receiver 3 looks Spartan. But this receiver is all about audio performance - quantity as well as quality. If you don't demand extensive surround modes, or more than three fully equipped A/V inputs (all most of us will ever need), this Sunfire receiver is a world-beater.