Audiovisual receivers act as the control center of a home theater, and over the past few years they've become increasingly complicated, adding features such as video switching, HDMI upconversion, and even media streaming to the standard task of amplification. Sony's ES line of receivers have been on the cutting edge lately, and the company's two new receivers--the STR-DA5400ES and STR-DA6400ES--both add the capability to stream HD video to a second room over a category 5e (Ethernet) connection. In addition, STR-DA6400ES will also offer up more traditional media capabilities, including streaming media from DLNA-compatible devices as well as … Read more
A Malibu, CA company is developing a new system to protect military communication gear from high-power microwave weapons, nuclear blast generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the mythic, directed-energy "e-bomb".
One nuclear airburst can unleash the EMP equivalent to 100,000 volts per square centimeter, frying computer, radar and communication equipment within hundreds of miles. It's possible to protect electronic circuitry from EMP with something called a Faraday cage, or covering it up with 1 inch mesh, grounded, copper chicken wire as they've done with FEMA headquarters; problem is-nothing gets out either, which defeats the purpose when … Read more
The most common question we get at CNET is, "what should I buy?" Unfortunately, instead of just spitting out a product name, that question usually forces us to follow-up with our own questions--how much do you want to spend, what features are important, and so on. However, last year when people asked "which audiovisual receiver should I buy", we actually had a pretty simple answer: the Onkyo TX-SR605. At $400, it was right in the "budget" sweet spot, and it included more next-generation features--such as onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and analog upconversion--than any other receiver in its price class. Unless you were looking to spend a lot more money, the TX-SR605 was by far the best value.
So which AV receiver should you buy in 2008? Well, it's not that easy this year.… Read more
While Onkyo has already announced its main budget receiver for the year--the TX-SR606, which we reviewed last week--today Onkyo announced two new midrange AV receivers, the TX-SR706 and TX-SR806, which both offer several HDMI inputs, video upconversion, and THX certification. These receivers are sure to appeal to audiophiles on a budget, so let's check out their key features:
Key features of the Onkyo TX-SR706:7.1 channels, 100 watts per channel 4 HDMI 1.3 inputs Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 1080p upconversion for analog signals, using Faroudja DCDi Cinema video processing … Read more
Sony has unveiled three new AV receivers in its flagship ES ("elevated standard") lineup. While the company's announcement is light on specifics, it looks as if some or all of the models will offer the lossless audio decoding for Blu-ray movies, graphical user interfaces, Sirius and XM satellite radio compatibility, automatic speaker calibration, and upscaling of analog video sources to 1080p HDMI output. Model-by-model details include: … Read more
Today's audiovisual receivers are complicated things. They can be a real pain to use, have excruciatingly complicated menu systems, and many don't even accommodate turntables! Point is if you're mostly interested in playing music do yourself a big favor and buy a stereo receiver.
Like Harman Kardon's new HK 3490 two times 120 watt receiver ($449). In my opinion Harman makes the best sounding AV receivers, and I have every reason to expect their stereo models to be even better. The engineers invested in a high-performance phono preamp, pre-out/main-in jacks, and high-current amplification. You also … Read more
While most audio manufacturers trot out a new line of AV receivers every year, Harman Kardon generally sits out of the "feature war" and lets its models stay in the product line longer. That's why it's a big deal that the company has announced three new receivers, bringing many cutting-edge features that were previously missing from the company's lineup. As always, these new receivers have Harman's typically refined look, and now that some of the models include updated features--like high-resolution audio decoding, a high-def graphical user interface, and video upconversion--you won't have to settle for beauty without brains. Let's take an in-depth look at the new line.
Harman Kardon 154
Key features of the Harman Kardon 154:5.1 channels, 30 watts per channel Three HDMI 1.3a inputs… Read more
Denon has announced several new AV receivers for 2008, ranging from $1,200 down to $300. While last year's line of AV receivers marked a huge break from previous generations--with a colorful graphical user interfaces and curvy exterior design--the 2008 line looks to mostly continue the innovations from last year. The initial announcement lacked most of the important specifics we'd like to know about these receivers, but we have a broad idea of what they will offer.
Pioneer has unveiled four new AV receivers in its high-end Elite line for 2008. The VSX-01TXH ($750) and VSX-03TXH ($1,000) will be first out the door in June, followed by the SC-05 ($1,800) and SC-07 ($2,200) in August. (A 2007 model, the VSX-94TXH, remains in the lineup as well and is widely available for 25 percent off its $1,600 MSRP.) In addition to all of the cutting-edge features (HDMI 1.3; upscaling of analog video sources to 1080p HDMI output; on-board decoding for the Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution, and lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks found on Blu-ray Discs; multi-source output for up to three zones; Pioneer's top-notch MCACC auto-calibration), the SC-05 and SC-07 boast network connections for streaming digital media from DLNA-compatible network sources, including PC hard drives. The 05 and 07 also offer some super-tweaky features that will potentially appeal to audiophiles, including the Precision Quartz Locking System (PQLS) that's said to offer optimal CD playback from Pioneer's new Blu-ray players by eliminating audio jitter.… Read more
Last year, Onkyo pretty much dominated the budget AV receiver market with the TX-SR605, which offered up cutting-edge features like onboard high-resolution audio decoding at a bargain price--and it earned our Editors' Choice award. Today Onkyo has announced its successor, the TX-SR606, which adds some significant features, such as four total HDMI inputs and 1080i upscaling. Here are the details:
Key features of the Onkyo TX-SR606:7.1 channels, 90 watts per channel Four HDMI 1.3 inputs Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 1080i upconversion for analog signals New "music optimizer" … Read more