Onkyo TX-NR609 leads the receiver pack in new 2011 lineup

Onkyo has just announced a set of four fully featured, yet affordable home cinema receivers that should be just the job for anyone who wants to build their perfect home cinema setup.

If you don't fancy doing it yourself, you can always take a look at its latest Home Cinema systems, but if you like your separates - read on.

The four next-gen receivers consist of the 7.2-channel TX-NR609, the 7.1-channel TX-NR579, the 5.1-channel TX-NR509 and the 5.1-channel TX-SR309. Featuring all new styling, each of these new models - bar the entry-level TX-SR309 - is a network-capable receiver capable of supporting streaming PC audio and internet radio, a pretty fine achievement when you consider the pricing.

The head-honcho of the group is the TX-NR609; THX Select2 Plus-certified, the new receiver gets a wealth of tasty tech. Apart from being the first home cinema receiver in the world to employ cutting-edge Marvell Qdeo video processing technology to upscale standard video signals to state-of-the-art 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, it also enables easy firmware updates through compatibility with Windows 7 and DLNA.

The TX-NR609 boasts six HDMI inputs (one located conveniently on the front) a Universal Port for Onkyo-branded peripheral devices, and a raft of popular digital and analogue A/V inputs. PC gamers will also be pleased to hear of a analogue RGB video input included.

Along with this wealth of connectivity the TX-NR609 has a suite of Audyssey technologies - 2EQ, Dynamic Volume, and Dynamic EQ - to simplify set-up, and a new overlaid graphical GUI for "on the fly" adjustments to settings. An illuminated volume control knob makes it easy to adjust the volume in the dark.

Moving on down the new list of Onkyo receivers we can gradually cross off features given to the TX-NR609, as the TX-NR509 loses the 4K video upscaling feature and the expanded surround sound options. It differs further from the TX-NR579 by featuring a regular (i.e. non-powered) Zone 2 line out, and by omitting Onkyo’s new content-navigation GUI. Apart from this, connectivity, audio processing and networking is pretty much the same.

Bringing up the rear is the TX-SR309, targeted at users who do not require all the bells and whistles of the higher-end systems, but still want a little bit of quality for their home cinema setup.

Pricing starts at £250 for the Onkyo TX-SR309 (Available end of February), £350 and £450 for the  TX-NR509 and TX-NR579 (March releases), whilst the Onkyo TX-NR609 will set you back £500 and also be available March.



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