If like us, ensconcing yourself in the bassy comfort of your home cinema is your favourite way to waste an evening, you'll be thrilled to know Onkyo wants to enable your habit with a range of new AV receivers. There are four models: the TX-SR307, TX-SR507, TX-SR577 and the TX-SR607. The first three players will hit the market in April, with the SR607 arriving in May.
So, what does each machine bring? If past performance is anything to go by, they'll deliver crashing bass, awe-inspiring surround sound and more features than you can shake a pogo-stick at. Let's break it down, hip-hop style, by looking at each machine in order.
First up, at the entry-level end of the market, is the SR307. This machine offers decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound. It has HDMI for passthrough, for taking multiple inputs from your AV gear and passing them to your TV via a single cable. The only feature missing here is DTS-HD MA and TrueHD decoding. The 307 is a replacement for last year's SR304 and will cost around £250 when it launches.
The TX-SR507, which replaces last year's 506, is aimed at the entry level Blu-ray market. It includes both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA decoding, has four HDMI inputs and a new, 3.5mm stereo jack at the front, for your MP3 player. It's expected to cost around £350 when it launches next month.
The SR577 picks up where the 576 left off. Four HDMI inputs are included, as is the new 3.5mm MP3 jack on the front. You also get Onkyo's new 'Universal Port', which will provide a way to connect accessories such as DAB radios and iPod docks. The 577 is also the first decoder in the range to add the new Dolby Pro Logic IIz processing mode, which steers sound to speakers mounted high at the front of your home cinema. This mode is supposed to generate a more three-dimensional sound. If multiple speakers are your cup of tea, you'll be pleased to hear this receiver can cope with 7.1-channel output too. You should be able to pick this machine up for about £400 when it hits shops in April.
The last machine in the range is the SR607, which has five HDMI inputs -- including a front-mounted one for games consoles or camcorders. Pro Logic IIz is also present and correct, as is the Universal Port and the front-mounted 3.5mm input. It's expected to be available in May, and should cost around £500.
The whole range features new gaming modes, designed to help you get more out of your surround-sound experience. The modes, which amazingly include specific settings for RPG, action, sports and even one for musical games, are intended to make gaming a more immersive and involving experience. Onkyo reckons gaming is a huge part of its market, and is expanding all the time. We have to say, listening to Guitar Hero on the system did have a live music feel to it, and was quite a lot better than the usual TV hook-up.