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First Look: Onkyo TX-NR609

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First Look: Onkyo TX-NR609

2:43 /

The Onkyo TX-NR609 has six HDMI inputs and lots of built-in streaming music services, but it lacks AirPlay and doesn't sound quite as good to our ears as some competitors.

Hey! I'm Matthew Moskovciak at cnet.com and this is the Onkyo TX-NR609. This is a mid-range AV receiver with built-in networking features and is currently selling for just under 500 dollars. The design is pretty typical for an AV receiver and we did appreciate that there's an HDMI input as well as a USB input on the front panel. It include the remote as a simple layout that we liked and you can also control the TX-NR609 with Onkyo's remote app. It's available for iOS devices which is iPhone, iPod touch, and iPAd. The app is one of the best we've seen and it works really well for controlling Onkyo's built-in streaming media services, which includes Rhapsody, Pandora, Napsters, Sirius, Slacker, and internet radio. If you don't have an iOS device, you can still access all the features through Onkyo's onscreen menus. The user-interface actually looks pretty good for an AV receiver, although it can get a little TDS if you're using the remote to say search for music on Rhapsody. Also, remember to access all the stream and music features. The receiver needs to be on your home network and the Onkyo does have an Ethernet port built-in on the back. And a really nice bonus is that Onkyo also offers a Wi-Fi/USB dongle for only 40 dollars which is surprisingly affordable although, I note that it does use up the front panel of USB port. Now, the big networking missing feature on the Onkyo is AirPlay which is Apple's wireless streaming audio platform. We think AirPlay is a pretty nice bonus feature on an AV receiver. So, if you have an iOS device, you probably go and want to check out the competing Denon and Pioneer models. Around back, you'll see all the connectivity and the Onkyo is really well stock with 6 total HDMI inputs including that front panel input and you can connect to 8 total HD sources at once which is more than any of the other competitors. There's even a PC input on the back which is pretty rare to find on the mid-range AV receiver. In terms of sound quality, we thought the Onkyo sounded pretty good on both music and movies, although we haven't made some manuals setup tweaks since the automatic speaker calibration was a little bit off in our test environment. When we tested it directly against the Pioneer VSX-1021-K, we prefer the Pioneer by just a little. So, this isn't our top choice if you're picky about sound quality. Altogether, the Onkyo TX-NR609 is packed with HDMI connectivity, streaming music services, and has a great iOS remote app. But buyer should note that AirPlay support is available on competitors and this isn't our topic for sound quality. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Onkyo TX-NR609.

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