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Fri Feb 11 2011

2011 Entry-level Onkyo AV Receivers Offer Networking Capabilities

The days of when advanced networking features can only be found in mid to high-end AV receivers will soon be over thanks to Onkyo.  The company has just announced new entry-level receivers that include advanced networking capabilities and a ‘Made for iPod/iPhone’ USB interface for the first time at such affordable price points. The release includes the 7.2-channel TX-NR609,  the 5.1-channel TX-NR509 and the 5.1-channel TX-SR309. The models designated ‘TX-NR’ are network-capable and all three have front-panel USB connections.

The two network-capable receivers support streaming PC audio and Internet radio, and provide compatibility with Windows 7 and DLNA. The Internet connection greatly simplifies the process of providing future updates to the receiver’s firmware. These networking models can also take advantage of Onkyo’s free Remote App for iPod/iPhone to control the A/V receiver.

Onkyo has also introduced its UWF-1 Wireless USB Adapter that will be compatible with all Onkyo network-capable receivers with USB and introduced in 2011. It provides an IEEE 802.11b/g/n connection to access music on a home network.

This front-panel USB port also offers a direct digital connection for an iPod or iPhone, along with support for audio playback from USB mass-storage devices. In the case of the TX-NR609 the USB port even support album from your iPod/iPhone. All Onkyo receivers incorporate an implementation of HDMI that includes compatibility with 3D video, HDMI Thru, and an Audio Return Channel. The latter allows audio content received via an HDTV’s tuner to be sent upstream via HDMI to the receiver, without the need for an extra cable from the display.

Other features shared by these models include PLL jitter-cleaning circuitry to preserve signal clarity; lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding; an overlaid on-screen display for easy adjustment of settings; and a new front panel design.

The most advanced model in this group is the THX Select2 Plus-certified TX-NR609. When it comes to video processing, this receiver is the world’s first to employ cutting-edge Marvell Qdeo to upscale video signals to state-of-the-art 4K resolution. Regardless of the original source resolution, users will be able to enjoy smooth and extremely precise video images on a compatible high-resolution display.

Along with the aforementioned USB port, the TX-NR609 boasts six HDMI inputs (one located conveniently on the front), a Universal Port for Onkyo-branded peripheral devices, and a raft of popular digital and analog A/V jacks.

Another connectivity highlight on the TX-NR609 comes in the form of Powered Zone 2, which lets users play a different audio source in a second room equipped with stereo speakers. The TX-NR609’s 7.2-channel configuration includes two subwoofer pre-outs, enabling users to supply larger rooms with more balanced and powerful low frequencies.

The TX-NR609 features a PC-compatible analog RGB video input—ideal for gamers and fans of PC-based media. This input allows users to send the video signal from a notebook or desktop PC directly to the receiver, which then sends it via HDMI to a compatible display.

Among its audio-processing highlights, the TX-NR609 supports decoding for Audyssey DSX™. This sophisticated technology allows users to reconfigure the surround-back speakers in a seven-channel set-up as either front-height or front-wide speakers, creating a more immersive home theater experience with increased ambience. The TX-NR609 also supports Dolby Pro Logic IIz, which offers a similar front-height surround-sound option.

Ease-of-use is always a priority at Onkyo, particularly at the entry level. This is why the TX-NR609 incorporates a suite of Audyssey technologies—2EQ, Dynamic Volume, and Dynamic EQ—to simplify set-up, and a new overlaid graphical GUI for in-session adjustments to settings. A stylish illuminated volume control knob makes it easy to adjust the volume in the dark.

The TX-NR509, meanwhile, offers an appealing choice to users who do not require the 4K video upscaling feature or the expanded surround sound of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. It offers 4 HMDI inputs and the same range of networking and superb audio processing as its higher sibling.

Rounding out this release is the most affordable model of all, the TX-SR309. This 5.1-channel A/V receiver is targeted at users who do not require the networking, Zone 2, or Audyssey equalization features, but who still seek a modern and budget-friendly home theater centerpiece. It features three HDMI inputs and high-quality TI Burr-Brown audio DACs, along with Onkyo’s proprietary advanced music optimizer and gaming audio modes. 

The Onkyo TX-NR609 will be available with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $599 US; TX-NR509 at $399 US; and TX-SR309 at $299 US. The Onkyo UWF-1 wireless adapter will cost $39 US. All of these products will be available this April.

For more information please visit www.onkyo.ca.

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