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Onkyo AVRs, HTiBs Get HDMI 1.4

3/09/2010 09:33:21 AM Eastern
Upper Saddle River, N.J. - Onkyo introduced its first three A/V receivers (AVRs) and first three home theater in a box (HTiB) systems with HDMI 1.4 connections that support 3D video and Audio Return Channel (ARC).

Onkyo's TX-SR308
The products are also Onkyo's first with what the company calls HDMI Thru, which simplifies home-theater connections by letting video content pass through to a connected TV while the receivers and HTiBs are in standby mode. The selection also includes Onkyo's first 2.1-speaker HTiB system with virtual surround-sound processing.

 All models decode all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, bringing the feature down to $299 in AVRs from $399 and down to $379 in HTiBs from $699.

  The AVRs are the $299-suggested 5.1-channel TX-SR308, $399 7.1-channel TX-SR508, and $599 7.2-channel TX-SR608. The $299 model ships in March, and the other two ship in April. None are in the HT series of more broadly distributed AVRs.

 The HTiBs consist of a bundled AVR, speakers and subwoofer. They include the $379-suggested 5.1-speaker HT-S3300 and $599 7.1-speaker HT-S5300, due in March and April, respectively. The $349-suggested 2.1-speaker system, the HTX-22HDX, ships in May with Onkyo's proprietary Theater-Dimensional processing, which has been available previously in Onkyo AVRs to deliver virtual surround.

  With the launches, Onkyo also brings down the starting price of Audyssey DSX post-processing technology in AVRs to $599 from $899, Dolby Pro Logic IIz to $399 from $599, and proprietary Universal Port (U-Port) down to $299 from $399. U-Port lets consumers add an Onkyo iPod dock or Onkyo HD Radio tuner, enabling the tuner and docked iPod to be controlled from the AVRs' controls.

 The $299 5.1 AVR features 192-kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1690 DACs to enhance resistance to clock jitter and deliver 113dB dynamic range. It also features U-Port and new overlaid onscreen graphical display that lets users watch a program in the background while viewing menu functions on screen.

  The $399 AVR adds Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Sirius port and 7.1-channel capability. The $599 model adds 7.2-channel capability, THX-Select2 Plus certification, Audyssey DSX, front HDMI input and up-scaling of all video sources to 1080p, including video from a new PC input. In the previous AVR line, video was up-scaled to 1080i at $599. DSX in the $599 AVR can be configured to deliver front-height or front-wide channels but not both simultaneously.

 The opening price HTiB at $379 features 5.1-speaker package and U-Port, and the step-up $599 system adds 7.1-channel speaker system and included iPod dock. The 2.1-speaker HTiB at $349 lacks U-Port but features three HDMI 1.4 inputs, four audio modes for gaming and outputs for additional speakers.

  Marketing manager Paul Wasek said of the introductions, "By upgrading to [HDMI] 1.4, even on the least-expensive HTiB, we have eliminated all HDMI passthrough products and allowed HD audio formats to be used across the line."
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