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Spotlight on new Onkyo A/V receivers

Spotlight on new Onkyo A/V receivers

We just posted a hands-on review of the Onkyo TX-SR504, Onkyo's new A/V receiver. While the Pioneer VSX-816 bests the Onkyo on a couple of added conveniences--an onscreen display and automatic speaker calibration--both receivers are great bargains. Available for under $300, they're very good starter receivers for anyone looking to build a decent home-theater system.

More interesting for audio enthusiasts are the TX-SR504's three step-up models: the TX-SR574 ($400 list), the TX-SR604 ($500), and the TX-SR674 ($700), all of which are just hitting the market. We haven't yet reviewed them, but--based simply on their specs and features--the SR674 would seem to be the pick of the litter. In addition to a wide range of impressive "standard" features (95 watts per channel, XM HD-ready, compatibility with the Onkyo iPod dock, Audyssey auto speaker calibration), the TX-SR674 offers HDMI switching (two inputs, one output) and analog-to-digital HDMI video conversion with deinterlacing. What that means in practice is that you can connect any video source to the receiver--anything from an old VCR or game console to a cutting-edge HD disc player or cable/satellite box--and the TX-SR674 should be able to send it to your HDTV via a single HDMI connection. Onkyo is also specifying that the SR674 will pass 1080p HDMI video streams without hiccups, which will be of interest to anyone who's considering investing in a Blu-ray player or a PlayStation 3.

Onkyo 2006 A/V receivers compared:
(These models will remain current through the first two quarters of 2007.)

Model Quick take Price
Onkyo TX-SR304 Onkyo's entry-level 5.1-channel A/V receiver offers component video switching between three inputs.
Onkyo TX-SR504 The step-up to the TX-SR304 is a 7.1-channel model that adds more power, more A/V inputs, and XM satellite radio capability.
$238-$299
from 6 stores
Check latest prices
Onkyo TX-SR574 The TX-SR574 improves on the SR504 by adding the ability to convert any composite or S-Video input to component-video output.
$329-$399
from 4 stores
Check latest prices
Onkyo TX-SR604 Replacing the earlier TX-SR603X, the SR604 is Onkyo's most affordable receiver to offer Audyssey auto speaker calibration and HDMI switching between two sources.
Onkyo TX-SR674 One-upping the HDMI switching on the SR604, the Onkyo TX-SR674 adds the ability to convert analog video sources (composite, S-Video, component) to HDMI.
Onkyo TX-SR703 A 2005 holdover, the TX-SR703 is THX Select2 certified, but it offers no HDMI connectivity and lacks support for the latest XM surround formats.
$547-$629
from 5 stores
Check latest prices
Onkyo TX-SR803 Also a holdover from the 2005 line, the TX-SR803 improves upon the SR703 by adding support for two HDMI sources but lacks the TX-SR674's ability to convert analog video to HDMI output.
$679-$949
from 6 stores
Check latest prices
Onkyo TX-NR1000 Onkyo's flagship receiver, released in 2005, offers plug-in circuit boards for PC-style upgradeability.
$3999-$4299
from 2 stores
Check latest prices

Looking for competing HDMI-centric receivers? Check out our coverage of forthcoming models from Denon and Yamaha as well. In the meantime, stay tuned for a complete hands-on review of the TX-SR674--we hope to have one in-house within the next few weeks.