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CNET First Look
Onkyo TX-NR525 hands-onThe TX-NR525 offers a lot of HDMI connectivity for the money, but it's not quite the best value pick if you want wireless audio streaming.
Hey, I'm Matthew Moscoviak from CNET and we're gonna take a look at the Onkyo TX-NR525. This is a mid-range 5.2 AV receiver with networking features that's currently selling for $400. As you can see, this is a full-sized AV receiver, so it's big, it's boxy, and it takes up a lot of space. The front panel has sharp edges and corners, and it's also cluttered with buttons so it's not exactly the nicest looking receiver out there. The included remote is good as far as AV receiver remotes go. The white input buttons are easier to see in a dim home theatre and the directional pad and volume rocker are centrally located. The big feature on this receiver is it offers 6 HDMI inputs on the back, which is more than most $400 AV receivers. It also has built-in networking functionality which includes smartphone control, DLNA compatibility, and several integrated streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker and internet radio. To use those networking features, you do need a wired Ethernet connection as the Onkyo doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi, but they do sell a USB adapter which lets you get Wi-Fi for $30. There's also an adapter for Bluetooth which costs $50. Those adapters are pretty reasonably priced. The only issue is Sony's competing STR-DN840 offers built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay for $450 which isn't that much more when you consider the cost of Onkyo's adapters in the first place. Sound quality on the Onkyo was just a little below average. Action movies still sounded impressive over the Onkyo, but when we switched over to other models they delivered slightly more powerful sound. It was the same story with music which sounded just a little more realistic on competing models. Again, listening to the system on its own sounded fine, but in head-to-head comparisons we tended to favor its competitors. So overall the TX-NR525 does offer a lot of HDMI connectivity for the money, but it's not quite the best value pick if you want wireless audio streaming even though its adapters are affordable. I'm Matthew Moscoviak and this is the Onkyo TX-NR525.