It's that wonderful time of year again, when the days are getting a little longer, the crocuses are poking up, and -- crucially -- Onkyo is rolling out its new budget and mid-range AV receivers. There's an impressive new style this year too, which we think makes Onkyo's hardware even more desirable than ever.
At the top of the range sits the magnificent TX-NR609. It's THX Select2 certified, has six HDMI inputs -- one on the front, handy for gamers -- and the usual AV inputs and optical and digital audio connectors for you to get high-quality surround sound from older, non-HDMI equipped hardware.
The 609 also has the ability to upscale your video from 1080p to a numerically much more impressive 4K resolution (3,840x2,160 pixels). We don't know all that many people with 4K-resolution TVs right now, but we're sure it's only a matter of time before they start cropping up. There's also a powered zone 2 on this model too, so you can send a different audio source to a second room.
The TX-SR309 entry-level model is, as you would expect, the most
cut-down and doesn't feature the network functionality of the other
models. It does however offer a really affordable way to get into
surround sound with 5.1-channel support. There are three HDMI inputs and
a single output all linked up to Onkyo's advanced music and gaming
The 609 and its mid-range brethren the TX-NR509 and TX-NR579 also feature new Internet radio functionality. In what looks like a move to render streaming devices like Sonos obsolete, these receivers can access Last.fm and v.Tuner Internet radio stations. There's also access to Napster's music library as well, if you're a subscriber. All we need now is Spotify support, and Onkyo will be really upsetting multi-room audio companies.
Onkyo is also planning to sell an optional wireless dongle for each of the network radio capable AV receivers too. Although it doesn't have a price yet, the dongle will be 802.11n-capable and will be able to access music stored on your home network.
All the models will be available by the end of March, with some landing slightly sooner. The TX-SR309 costs £250, the TX-NR509 is £350, the TX-NR579 will be £450 and the top of the range TX-NR609 will be £500. Each is available in either black or silver from the usual high-street and online retailers.