The Good Two HDMI 1.3 inputs; converts analog video sources to HDMI; onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding; XM- and Sirius- ready; automatic speaker calibration; switches as many as five high-definition video sources.
The Bad Downconverts 1080i component video signals to 720p when outputting over HDMI; HDMI video quality converted from analog sources may not satisfy videophiles; Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding cannot be used with current crop of high-definition video players.
The Bottom Line The Onkyo TX-SR605 raises the bar for AV receivers by delivering an amazing number of next-generation audio and video features at an unbeatably low price.
Editors' Note: As of April 2008, this product has been replaced by the Onkyo TX-SR606, which adds additional HDMI ports and 1080i upscaling.
As they do with TVs, people like to invest in AV receivers for the long term, but for the past couple of years (at least), that's been a hard prospect. A variety of "must-have" upgrades have long been promised as being just around the corner, prompting cautious home theater fans to put off purchases until the next-generation features have become available. Well, we have good news, patient audiophiles: tomorrow is finally here. The Onkyo TX-SR605 is the first AV receiver that offers onboard decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, the lossless digital-audio formats found on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Moreover, the receiver has the potential to pass along the other egghead niceties associated with the HDMI version 1.3, such as xvYCC color. It also supports analog-to-digital video conversion (so you'll need just a single HDMI cable to your TV) as well as XM and Sirius satellite radio (with the appropriate add-on accessories and subscriptions). So what's not to like? Well, those long-awaited features--lossless audio decoding, xvYCC color--don't really have any real-world applications with current high-def video players. And there are certainly quirks that home theater enthusiasts should be aware of; the video-scaling performance will irk videophiles, for instance. But for the vast majority of users, there's not a better buy than the TX-SR605 in this price range. It's just $500, and it's widely available for less. Dollar for dollar, it's the best buy in the AV receiver market we've seen so far in 2007.