|HDMI inputs||4||Optical audio inputs||2|
|Component video inputs||2||Coaxial audio inputs||2|
|Max connected HD devices||6||Stereo analog audio inputs||2|
|Composite AV inputs||5||Analog multichannel inputs||7.1|
|Max connected video devices||11||Phono input||No|
From the specs chart, the HTR-6260BL's connectivity would seem to be pretty complete, but the specs don't tell the whole story. The HTR-6260BL's four HDMI inputs are average at this price point, although it's worth pointing out that the Onkyo TX-SR607 has six. While the rest of the connectivity is in line with comparable models, it's not nearly as flexible as some others, as the HTR-6260BL lacks the capability to assign audio inputs to any video input you'd like. So, while there are two component video inputs and two optical-digital-audio inputs, it's not possible to use two component video sources accompanied with optical-digital audio, because one of the component video inputs is permanently assigned to a coaxial-digital-audio input. In the real world, this will probably be an issue only if you have many analog video sources, but it's an annoying drawback that isn't present on other receivers in this price range.
The HTR-6260BL is stronger on more audio-centric features. The 7.1 analog audio inputs are a nice inclusion, especially since they has been dropped on the competing Onkyo TX-SR607. It also includes full 7.2 preamp outputs, for those intending to use the HTR-6260BL with a separate amplifier. As usual, Yamaha also included a second subwoofer output if you'd like to run a dual subwoofer configuration; Yamaha also includes additional speaker jacks for optional "presence speakers," which are positioned similarly to Dolby Pro Logic IIz height speakers and provide greater ambiance.
|Line level 2nd zone outputs||Yes||Line level 3rd zone outputs||No|
|Speaker-level 2nd zone outputs||Yes||Speaker-level 3rd zone outputs||No|
|2nd zone video output||No||2nd zone remote||No|
The Yamaha HTR-6260BL has a strong set of multiroom features, enabling you to send analog audio to a second room, using either speaker-level outputs or line-level outputs. It's also worth noting that, unlike most competing models, the HTR-6260BL doesn't use the same speaker connections for the surround-back speakers and second zone speaker level outputs, so you can easily set up both a 7.1 system and have second zone audio running. (The second zone speaker level outputs do share jacks with the optional presence speakers, however.)
We used our CNET reference Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD speaker system for most of our listening tests. The HTR-6260BL handled the "Mission Impossible: III" Blu-ray's outlandish action hijinks in stride. The helicopter flying over, under, and around the gigantic wind turbines sounded great, and the missile explosions had decent impact.
Moving on, we listened to a bunch of great bands on the "From the Basement" DVD. The White Stripes charged through "Blue Orchid" in style, but we felt Meg White's bass drum sounded a little soggy, and her cymbals lacked delicacy and air. Listening to CDs confirmed our hunches about the HTR-6260BL's sound. Jazz pianist Monty Alexander's "The Songs of Nat King Cole" SACD had wide stereo soundstage, though it lacked depth. We had to strain to hear individual notes from Lorin Cohen's stand-up bass.
We briefly compared the Yamaha with a Denon AVR-1909 receiver. Yup, the Denon's bass was firmer, treble clarity was superior, and the soundstage dimensionality was improved. Still, we're not talking about big differences, but with a speaker system as revealing as the Aperion we preferred the Denon.
We also had the Mirage Nanosat 5.1 satellite/subwoofer system on hand, and the HTR-6260BL sounded better with the smaller speakers. The Nanosat 5.1 is an excellent system, but its softer, more "forgiving" sound turned out to be a better match with the HTR-6260BL.
The HTR-6260BL is capable of upconverting analog signals to its HDMI output, so we put it through our video testing suite. We connected the Sony BDP-S360 via component video to the HTR-6260BL, with the BDP-S360 set to 480i output. The HTR-6260BL was set to output at 1080p over its HDMI output, connected to the Sony KDL-52XBR7.
Our video testing starting with Silicon Optix's HQV test suite, and the HTR-6260BL did not pass the first resolution test. Areas where we should have seen detail were instead just a solid color, and we could see image instability and strobe-like effects elsewhere on the image. Next up were a couple of jaggies test patterns, and again the HTR-6260BL came up short, showing as many jaggies as some of the worst Blu-ray and DVD players to which we've administered this test. The HTR-6260BL didn't pull through on the 2:3 pull-down processing test either, as there was plenty of moire in the grandstands of a clip with a race car. From test patterns, the HTR-6260BL's performance was not promising.
We put the test patterns away and switched to actual program material, but the HTR-6260BL's performance didn't improve. The introduction to "Seabiscuit" is a torture test for video processors and the HTR-6260BL's processor was sufficiently pained, as the image was obviously soft and, at times, jaggies marred nearly the entire screen. The opening sequence of "Star Trek: Insurrection" wasn't any better, with jaggies all over curved lines like the boat hulls and roofs of the huts. Even those not particularly sensitive to image quality will most likely notice these quality issues. To be clear, the problems we saw were only on 480i analog signals upconverted to 1080p over the HDMI output. If you're only planning on using the HTR-6260BL for HDMI sources, you won't run into these issues at all. It's also worth pointing out that the HTR-6260BL can pass through analog signals to the HDMI output at their original resolution, leaving your HDTV to do the converting. In our experience, this produced a better image on the Sony KDL-52XBR7, and we imagine it would on almost all HDTVs. The bottom line is: don't expect the HTR-6260BL to offer pristine quality on upconverted analog signals.