Onkyo joins the 3D party with new AV receivers for 2010.
Add Onkyo to the list of AV manufacturers jumping on the 3D bandwagon. The company has unveiled a trio of new entry- and midlevel AV receivers for 2010, all of which boast HDMI 1.4 connections that are capable of passing the 3D signal from a Blu-ray player to a compatible TV. In addition to 3D compatibility, Onkyo is touting the receivers' support for audio return channel (if you want to, say, amplify the audio from a TV's built-in Netflix or Pandora stream) as well as HDMI passthrough (useful when you want to play a game on your PS3 using the TV speakers, while the receiver remains in standby mode). The $600 model even includes a VGA input for PCs--the first such feature we've seen on an AV receiver.
Highlights of the three new models follow:
Key features of the Onkyo TX-SR308:
- 5.1 AV receiver, 65 watts per channel
- 3 HDMI 1.4 inputs (with audio return channel and passthrough)
- 3D-compatible (able to pass 3D HDMI signal from 3D Blu-ray player to 3D TV)
- Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
- Transparent on-screen display (video programming visible behind on-screen menu)
- Includes Onkyo U-Port for connection of proprietary iPod docks and HD Radio tuners
- $299 | Available March 2010
Key step-up features of the Onkyo TX-SR508:
- 7.1 AV receiver, 80 watts per channel
- Dolby ProLogic IIz decoding
- 4 HDMI 1.4 inputs (with audio return channel and passthrough)
- Sirius ready
- $399 | Available April 2010
Key step-up features of the Onkyo TX-SR608 (photo at top):
- 7.2-channel THX-Select2 Plus-certified receiver, 100 watts per channel
- 6 HDMI 1.4 inputs (with audio return channel and passthrough), including 1 front input
- 1080p upscaling available on all video sources
- Analog video upconversion to HDMI
- Includes rear PC (VGA) input
- $599 | Available April 2010
There's certainly a lot to like here, but we can't help but feel that Pioneer's 2010 AV receivers retain a bit of an edge in the features race, especially at equivalent price points: Pioneer's $550 VSX-1020-K includes built-in iPod/iPhone support and Internet radio options, for instance. That said, the competition in the AV receiver product space seems more intense than ever, with products in the $300 to $600 price range jam-packed with features that would've only been available in models at $800 and above just a few years ago.
Note: This story has been updated since its original version with more detailed specs and analysis.