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Onkyo TX-NR906: Darth Vader endorses this AV receiver

If Darth Vader wanted 7.1 surround sound, which AV reciever would he choose? We spoke to his press people, and found out he's got an Onkyo TX-NR906 -- ours has just arrived too

He may enjoy killing the innocent, blowing up planets and generally keeping a stranglehold on those around him, but that doesn't mean old Darth Vader doesn't like to kick back, relax and watch a hi-def movie with glorious, uncompressed surround sound. Indeed, we think he's got an Onkyo TX-NR906 in that little egg where he takes his helmet off.

A 7.1 AV receiver like the TX-NR906 needs to be certified as capable of producing sound as the sound engineer intended it. Luckily, Darth's good buddy and authorised biographer George Lucas has just the system: it's called THX Ultra2 Plus and it's designed to do the best possible job in conveying the emotion and heart-rending life story of those misunderstood on-screen villains.

If THX Ultra2 Plus isn't enough for you, there's also the option to have your Onkyo TX-NR906 calibrated by an ISF engineer. The purpose of ISF is to make sure your system is set up perfectly for your viewing environment. So the subdued lighting in Darth's happy place shouldn't be a problem, which will please him when he's got his feet up on that stuffed Ewok.

When you're supreme ruler of the universe, you have a lot of video hardware, which means you need inputs up the yingyang. Darth was unlucky enough to pick HD DVD in the format war, which is one of the reasons those Blu-ray lovers on Alderaan had to die. Don't worry, he's got a PS3 now, because he rather likes the exterior finish, but he's also got Laserdisc, DVD, Betamax and a VHS player he needs to hook up. The Onkyo is extremely impressive here, offering four HDMI inputs and two outputs. There are also six composite and S-Video inputs, and the associated audio connectors for the older analogue gear. You also get three coaxial and two optical digital inputs, for newer, digital audio devices.

The Death Star's corporate network can also be accommodated. It's well known that the Emperor has a good selection of MP3s he's pirated from the record companies of a dozen worlds. He keeps those on a PC, so Darth is able to dip in and out of them using the Onkyo's networked streaming features.

If you're stuck here on planet Earth, the 906 is still a great piece of kit, available now for around £1,400. Of course, you won't be able to chill out to some DTS-HD audio while you crush weaker planets into space dust, and you'll have to get up to plug stuff in, rather than simply using the Force. A remote control is supplied though, so at least you can pretend to control things with your mind. –Ian Morris