Onkyo AVRs, HTiBs Get HDMI 1.4

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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).

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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