Onkyo TX-NR717: set to offer HD surround downloads
First 100 titles go live in Japan on May 30, company plans worldwide service this Autumn

Onkyo is set to launch a high-resolution surround music download service at the end of this month, making Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel audio available to buyers of its 2012 model receivers.

The service, which goes live in Japan on May 30 via e-onkyo music, will be available via 2012 receivers from the TX-NR717 upwards, and is expected to be available globally by the Autumn.

The e-onkyo site, which already has some 60,000 titles available in Japan, 1500 or those in 96kHz/24-bit or higher, will launch the new service with 100 albums.

These will be available in 5.1-channel Dolby TrueHD, WAV and FLAC formats, and at 96/24 and/or 192/24 quality, at a price estimated to be Y3000 (around £23.60) per album, and Y500 (about £4) for a single. This compares favourably with the price of new-release CDs in Japan.

More after the break

Playback of the downloaded files, which can be stored on a USB flash memory stick or hard drive, on a NAS or on the home computer, is possible using the TX-NR717 (above) and TX-NR818 receivers, which are due to go on sale at the end of this month.

Among the labels already signed up for the service are Norwegian hi-res specialists 2L, whose Divertimenti set (left) won 2009 Grammy Awards for engineering and surround sound, Japanese classical label Octavia, J-POP label Pony Canyon, and German-based Nishimura.

Shinsuke Yamashita, president of Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, says that 'We are very glad that we can begin Dolby TrueHD lossless audio distribution via e-onkyo music in collaboration with Dolby.

'With the development of network audio and PC audio, high-resolution audio—which contains more information than CD—has become familiar.

'We would like to pursue further growth in our music distribution business. In strengthening the relationship with Dolby, we hope to expand the variety of surround sound content available and improve the user experience.'