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A/V Receiver $699 Or Less – Onkyo USA TX-NR636

Onkyo’s $699-suggested NR636 offers multiple features that competing models lack at its price point, said national marketing manager Paul Wasek. They include Dolby Atmos surround decoding (with a firmware update scheduled for September), HDMI 2.0 connections with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, high-resolution audio decoding and a phono input.

The networked 7.2-channel AVR is among the company’s first AVRs with HDMI 2.0 connections, which in the Onkyo model supports UltraHD 4K video passthrough at 60 fps, the 21:9 aspect ratio, 4:4:4 color up to 4K/30Hz, and 4:2:0 color at 4k/60 Hz. The AVR is also among the first in the industry with HDCP 2.2 copy-protection, which will be incorporated in future 4K studio releases, 4K Internet-service streams, and future 4K terrestrial and satellite broadcasts. Such copy-protected content will either be unplayable or converted to standard definition when passed through non-HDCP 2.2-compliant AVR, the company said.

Supported high-resolution audio formats include DSD, 5.6MHz double DSD, 192kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV playback, and 96/24 ALAC, all with gapless playback.

With the Dolby Atmos firmware upgrade, the 636 supports Atmos 5.2.2 speaker setups with a pair of front in-ceiling height speakers or a pair of front-height speakers attached to the top of leftright speakers. Outboard amplifiers can’t be connected to the AVR to drive 5.2.4, 7.2.2, 7.2.4, or 9.2.2 speaker setups.

Other key AVR features include Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, a new room-correction technology called AccuEQ, compressed-music optimizer support for stereo Bluetooth, Dolby Pro Logic IIz 7.1-channel up-mixing, and 4K and 1080p up-scaling via Qdeo upscaling technology. DLNA 1.5 enables streaming of downloaded music from networked computers and NAS devices and from iOS and Android mobile devices equipped with Onkyo’s free remote app. The app also locates and streams tracks stored on DLNA-equipped computers and NAS drives. The app also streams tracks from Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, Slacker, Aupeo and TuneIn from within the app. These Internet radio and streaming services are also built into the AVR.