"Loved it, but..."3.5 starson by marcosmoor
Pros: inputs / connectivity (has phono!); decent power, flexible assignable inputs, excellent remote.
Cons: bit cumbersome to set up, runs VERY hot, the unit I got turned itself off randomly....
Summary: I've been doing some research to build a new media room set-up and after hearing and reading about this unit, picked one up as soon as it was available (ckt city was one of the first in town to carry it). One of my requirements is tight integration of a computer for both internet tv display to the sony xbr 46" as well as capture of sources connected to the AV unit (E.g. convert old vhs taped home movies to dvd).
My first impression when I tried to 'set it up quickly' was.... too many setup features/options and I probably pushed the wrong button sequence on the front panel at some point that caused the remote to not work when I started using it (Assigned it to the wrong unit # as I later discovered).
As I took a step back, read the entire manual and then set everything up, I became more and more impressed with the capabilities of this unit. I essentially filled up most of the connections in the back (5.1 speaker only) as the capture device still required the s-video/rca jacks to be hooked up in addition to the HDMI connections (Most everything upconverts to HDMI, but component and HDMI don't downconvert, hence still needing the RCA/S-Vid connections). I liked that it left the last video path input selected when selecting an alternative audio only source. This means you can dub captured video with a different audio source if desired (probably better to do this via video editing software, but I thougth a good indication of a well thought design of the receiver's switching functionality).
So after playing with it for a while, I hooked up my networked media player (Rapsody N35) to look at some converted home videos in highest possible resolution. Simply said -- WOW - they looked better then I had seen before due to upconversion !
Finally I played with the remote control to see how flexible it was. I was pleased to find out that not only did it have a vast range of programmable devices, additionally you can modify the codes button by button, which proved valuable with my simple cyberhome dvd player. (The codes/buttons were actually not controlling the right functions for this player - a little bug in the remote's firmware I presume..).
Now for the bad news... From the start I had noticed the unit had a tendency to put itself in standby mode when turned on (intermittently). I did not think much of this / look into this until I experienced a few random shut-offs during movie play. After a bit of research on the internet, I found that some older onkyo models experienced the same problem. I called onkyo and they confirmed the unit should not be doing this, so I decided to return it to circuitcity before my 30 day trial expired. Also, this unit runs very very hot, even when volume is not up much. I had to mount a fan in the cabinet to make sure the air circulated to keep it cool.
As for scoring, I would have given this unit a score of 10 if it wasn't for the complexity, but more importantly if it wasn't for the problem this unit had. Without the problem alone I would give it a 9, but because of the problem I will only give it a 7 for now. (Really a '0' because it did not work right, but I felt so good about the functionalities that it provided that it did not seem fair to give the entire unit that low of a score. I assume at this time that this is an isolated problem. If more pervasive, then obviously the score should drop dramatically...)
Because I am in the market for a new unit now, I will be looking at some other alternatives (High current amp devices - I hear Denon is coming out with new stuff as well), however at the pricepoint of this unit, will still give it some serious consideration to actually pick one up again in the hopes not to run into the aumomatic shutoff problem again (This apears to be an oversensitivity in the amp protection circuit, perhaps ground loop related or some thing like that as I have so much equipment connected to it). I know it wasn't my speakers or set-up because both my older units do not experience this problem with this setup (but are only 2 channel units - e.g. luxmann, aiwa) That is... if they become more readily available, and at a reasonable price (I picked it up at ckt city for ~$950.=). Once you get into the low to mid 1000 range I feel there are other alternatives that can provide more features and a better amp driver. We'll have to see what the prices are going to be for some of the other brands that are coming out with similar specs. Also, I may want the silver model instead, as the text on the black one is a bit hard to read.
Conclusion: If it wasn't for the problem I ran into, I would have most certainly kept it and been very happy with it's functionality and performance for the price.