Onkyo announces 2009 AV receivers, including first receiver with Dolby ProLogic IIz

Onkyo announces three new AV receivers, including the TX-SR607, which is the first AV receiver to feature Dolby ProLogic IIz processing.

The Onkyo TX-SR607 is the first AV receiver we've seen with a front panel HDMI input.
The Onkyo TX-SR607 is the first AV receiver we've seen with a front panel HDMI input.

Sony and Yamaha have announced their midrange AV receiver lines, and today Onkyo announced three new AV receivers ranging in price from $300 to $600. The biggest news is that the new TX-SR607 ($600) will be the first receiver to feature Dolby ProLogic IIz sound processing , which can expand existing 7.1 soundtracks to 9.1, routing some of the audio to "front high speakers" which are positioned above your standard front speakers. Let's take a look at how all three models compare:

Onkyo TX-SR307

Key features of the Onkyo TX-SR307:

Onkyo TX-SR507

Key step-up features of the Onkyo TX-SR507:

  • 5.1 AV receiver with 80 watts per channel
  • Four HDMI inputs
  • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Four digital audio inputs (two optical, two coaxial)
  • Second zone functionality
  • Proprietary Onkyo "universal port" for connecting accessories, such as an HD Radio tuner or iPod dock
  • Available in April, $400 list price

Onkyo TX-SR607

Key step-up features of the Onkyo TX-SR607:

  • 7.2 AV receiver with 90 watts per channel
  • Six HDMI inputs, including a front panel input
  • Upconverts analog signals using Faroudja DCDi video processing
  • First receiver with Dolby Pro-Logic IIz sound processing
  • Sirius-ready
  • Available in April, $600 list price

Dolby ProLogic IIz puts an extra pair of speakers up high.
Dolby ProLogic IIz puts an extra pair of speakers up high. Dolby

Dolby ProLogic IIz sound processing is the TX-SR607's most touted feature in the news release, but we're guessing this won't be a huge draw for most buyers who already feel like a 5.1 system involves too many speakers and wires. On the other hand, six HDMI inputs--more than any other receiver at this price range--seems much more important to us now that almost every video component uses the connection. Some users will certainly complain about one of the inputs being on the front panel, but it's not a bad idea now that so many camcorders use HDMI as well.

Like Sony's and Yamaha's receivers, you'll notice that the new Onkyos no longer feature S-Video inputs . More surprisingly, you'll also notice that none of the new receivers feature multichannel analog audio inputs, which seems to be the next connection type that manufacturers are dropping from receivers.

Is Dolby ProLogic IIz something you'd be interested in? Or is it just another way to get you to buy more speakers? Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

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