NEWS: Onkyo AV receiver range offers upscaling and full HD audio from just £400

Onkyo is all set to unleash a complete AV receiver range for 2007-8, with the entry-level at just £250, a £400 model complete with Dolby Digital Plus/TrueHD and DTS-HD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and, at the top end of the line-up, 1080P upscaling using the HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) Reon-VX system from Silicon Optix. The least expensive models are already available, with the others rolling out over the next few months.

The range kicks off with the TX-SR505, which is already available and packs HDMI switching with 1080P compatibility, Audyssey 2EQ automatic set-up and a power output quoted at 130W into each of its seven channels. It sells for £250.

One step up is the TX-SR605, which costs £400, goes on sale in June, and is designed to accept both the Dolby and DTS high-resolution audio formats available on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs via its HDMI1.3a pass-through connections. It also offers upscaling to 576p and Faroudja deinterlacing on its HDMI and component connections, and can use its surround rear channels to biamplify front speakers in a 5.1-channel set-up. Power output here is given as 7x140W, and the receiver also has an attractive high-resolution

colour onscreen display system. It also adds two-zone multiroom operation.

Coming in July is the TX-SR705, which adds THX Select 2 certification and upgrades the automatic calibration to the Audyssey Multi EQ XT system found throughout the rest of the range. The £600 model has a 7x160w output.

Upping the power to 180W per channel is the £800 TX-SR805, also available in July, which uses Dual Push-Pull Amplification topology to reach the power requirements of the THX Ultra 2 certification it carries. That makes it the least expensive THX Ultra 2 receiver to date.

Also added at this level is a drop-down front door, tidying the fascia while offering greater input flexibility, three-zone multiroom capability, and an enhanced on-screen display system.

A version of this receiver is also available with the high-quality Teranex HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) system, using the Reon VX video processor from Silicon Optix. This gives full 1080P upscaling from all video sources – the first time such a system has been seen in a £1000 receiver. Called the TX-SR875 (above), it's available in June, and also features three-zone multiroom with video outputs as part of an extensive connectivity provision (see below).

The flagship of the range is the TX-NR905 (below), due in August at around £1400. As the change in the model number suggests, this is a network-capable receiver, able to stream music from home computers or internet radio, and it's also designed for extremely high sound quality, using three transformers in its power supply section, including a large toroidal transformer for the power amplification section.

Output is quoted by the manufacturer as 7x220w, and as well as the biamping facility offered by most of the other receivers in the range, the TX-NR905 shares with the TX-SR875 the ability to use pairs of amplifiers in bridged configuration to give much greater power to the front left and right channels.

All the receivers come in either black or silver, feature new softer front-panel styling, and support Onkyo's version of the HDMI 1.3 Consumer Electronics Control system, Remote Interactive for HDMI. RIHD is designed for wide-ranging compatibility with other brands' products - Onkyo has just announced the system works with Panasonic Viera Link products, and is hoping to announce interoperability with other brands soon.

It's all part of a highly comprehensive specification designed to give Onkyo a major stake in the AV receiver market - the company has Denon and Yamaha firmly in its sights, and is combining facilities and aggressive pricing to take on its rivals.

We'll be testing the new products as soon as we can get our hands on them.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.