Onkyo TX-NR609 Network AV Receiver
This level in the Onkyo range has always been one of the most anticipated of each year’s line ups. Not because they have been the top of the line models, or even the most cutting edge, but simply for the reason that over the years the SR60x models have provided the biggest bangs for your buck. And here in the UK, we’ve love ‘em. We’ve bought masses of them and made this often unheard of Japanese company, the biggest selling AV brand in the UK. Since the TX-SR605, it seems that Onkyo's goal has been to produce a single unit that strikes just the right balance between price, features and performance, and they’ve nearly always pulled it off. The latest model, the TX-NR609 is in the same mould, and continues Onkyo’s goal to create a receiver that can control the entirety of any home media system. While the first few generations of the receivers handled nothing more than a tape deck and a few standard TV controls, they can now supply high-definition videos, brilliant sound, and even full internet access.
This AV receiver was released fresh for 2011 with a brand new, and much sleeker look than in previous years, and comes in either a matt black or brushed steel body. While the front of the Onkyo TX-NR609 is sleek and attractive, the back is bristling with the overwhelming amount of hook-ups. This includes 6 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output, 2 HDTV inputs, 1 HDTV output, 4 digital audio inputs, 6 analogue audio inputs, a universal MP3 port, a USB port, an Ethernet port (hence the change from SR609 to NR609), a radio tuner, and even a headphone jack. Dolby has taken over quite a bit of the internals which project the audio while Audyssey provides for the customization of output according to what type of speakers are hooked up, the physical layout of the room, and the type of sound being played. The controls on the face of the machine are limited to a series of input-selecting buttons, the volume knob, and the power button.
The software of the Onkyo TX-NR609 is nearly as impressive of the hardware. Nearly every one of the hook-ups come fully capable of both 3D video as well as high-definition. Included is a feature to 'upscale' the quality of video for any current DVD collection. This means that there is no need to swap out the current media library for Blu-ray quite yet as old DVDs get a new lease on life. The Ethernet plug offers a whole new world of entertainment with access Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius Internet Radio, or even vTuner. It can also access all compatible media devices on the network, such as a home PC or iPad, to stream video or music directly to the TV or sound system.