Onkyo Launching AVRs With InstaPrevue, MHL


Upper Saddle River, N.J. - Onkyo will introduce four new A/V receivers in the coming months.

These include the industry's first three AVRs with Silicon Image's InstaPrevue technology, the industry's first two AVRs with Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) technology, and the industry's first three models capable of streaming music from the MP3tunes cloud-based music-locker service.

The four new AVRs are the $699-suggested 7.2-channel TX-NR616 with THX Select2 Plus certification, the $599 7.2-channel TX-NR515, the $499 5.1-channel TX-NR414, and the $299 5.1-channel TX-SR313. The former is available in April, and the other three ship in March.

Networking starts at a suggested $499, whereas the features started at a suggested $399 in last year's lineup. The networked models stream Internet radio and PC-stored music, and they offer DLNA certification and Windows 7 compatibility.

As in last year's lineup, Marvell Qdeo up-scaling of 1080p video to 4K2K (4,096 by 2,160 pixels) starts at a suggested $599 in the TX series. The capability also started last year at $549 in the HT series. Qdeo also up-scales analog video to 1080p.

In the top three AVRs, Silicon Image's InstaPrevue technology delivers live picture-in-picture thumbnail previews of video sources connected via HDMI inputs and MHL-enabled HDMI inputs, including video from Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles, set-top boxes, and MHL-enabled tablets and smartphones. The technology makes it unnecessary for consumers to remember whether a particular source is labeled HDMI 1, HDMI 2, or HDMI 3.

In the $599 and $699 AVRs, MHL-enabled HDMI inputs enable an MHL-compatible smartphone or tablet to stream 1080p HD video and 7.1-channel surround sound from the mobile device via cable to a home theater system. The AVRs' HDMI port will also charge the portable device, and consumers can use their TV or AVR remote to control the playback of content streamed from their MHL-enabled mobile device.  MHL technology is also planned for TVs.

 Worldwide, at least 23 smartphones feature MHL technology, and many are available in the U.S., the MHL Consortium said. Select Samsung TVs are also upgradable to MHL, and adapters are available to connect MHL-equipped mobile devices to TVs and AVRs that lack MHL technology, providing all of the features that MHL enables.

In the three network-capable AVRs, Onkyo is adding streaming of a user's personal library from the MP3tunes music-locker service. The service joins such services as Pandora, Rhapsody, Napster, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Slacker, Spotify, Mediafly and vTuner.

 All four new AVRs feature HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs, HDMI audio return channel, decoding of Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master HD audio formats, and front-panel USB port to stream iPod/iPhone-stored music in digital PCM form.

 The TX-NR515 and TX-NR616 add an additional USB port for use with an optional UWF-1 Wi-Fi dongle to deliver Wi-Fi network connectivity. These two models also add Dolby Pro Logic IIz post processing to derive front-height channels from stereo and surround-sound sources and upconvert stereo to surround sound. To that, the TX-NR616 adds Audyssey DSX post processing to add either two front-height channels or two front-wide channels. Both AVRs also feature Audyssey 2EQ room acoustic room correction and two HDMI outputs.

 In one change, proprietary WRAT amplifier technology starts at $299, down from $699. WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) is a low negative-feedback topology that reduces signal noise and distortion and extends frequency response beyond 20kHz.

 In another change, AVRs starting at $499 instead of $399 are compatible with the Wi-Fi USB dongle.

Like last year, however, THX Select2 Plus certification continues to start at $699 in the TX series, and a front-panel iPod/iPhone USB input continues to start a $299. Like last year, the USB input also offers the ability to view and play compress-music files on a USB stick, USB hard drive, or other-brand MP3 player.

Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz continue to start at the same price points in the TX series as last year.


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