Onkyo TX-SR674 HDMI Upconverting Receiver
Our Home Theater, er, Living Room, has consisted of the same Sony Receiver and random collection of goo since I worked at 800.com. Since we got HDTV it got really difficult to manage the system because the Sharp LCD has 5 inputs and the older Sony Receiver has 5 inputs and we had to do all this video + audio switching. "Put the TV/Video on Component 1 and the Audio on Optical 2" - you get the idea.
The Harmony Remote made a huge difference, and I still love it, but the receiver has been showing its age and every once in a while it will just stop making sound. Then 15 minutes later, it'll make a loud click and start up again. The Sony 925 Receiver isn't a "video switching receiver" for anything other than composite analog signals, of which I have none.
I started doing research on a new receiver using the kitchen remodel and living room repainting as an excuse. I figured since I'd have the whole thing ripped up anyway, why not put it back together right.
I decided on the Onkyo TX-SR674S (S for Silver) for a number of reasons.
- It offers decent price/performance balance. I'm not an audiophile, nor do I care to be, so I'll never buy a $1000 receiver, and I will continue to use the same speakers I have had for the last 10 years until they burn up. I would like a receiver that can utilize what I have though.
- It does video switching, but also HDMI video upconversion. That's not upscaling, now. Meaning, if a 480p signal comes in the Component Connector, it'll just go out to the HDMI as 480p. This means that I have one wire going to my Sharp LCD, and that's HDMI. This means I can set my TV's input and forget about it. It's also clearer than using Component Cables. Additionally my Replay TV that outputs via S-Video is also upconverted to HDMI and looks very clear. It will however deinterlace 480i and output 480p.
- XM Satellite Radio (it's ready for it). I have XM in my car (actually Greg has mine as he's driving across the country and I pressured him to take it for a whirl) and I love it. While we do listen to XM via the Media Center via the XBox, I would like it to be more integrated. It also has Radio Disney and XM Kids that I'd rather Z listen to over TV. (No TV for the baby) All I had to do was get an XM Antenna and it just worked. Slick.
- Audyssey 2EQ™ room acoustics correction. This is a fancy equalizer that includes a microphone and runs your speakers and room through a 12-step series of tests. In the process it learns the distance of your speakers to your ears and adjusts the dB level of each speaker individually to make up for crappy acoustics. It nailed the distances of my speakers and noticed that my Center Speaker is 2 feed farther back than my front speakers and added +1dB to the Center's level to compensate. Very nice, and I understand the Audyssey is well thought of amongst folks more into this stuff than I.
- 1080p ready - It'll handle 1080p if need be, although I'm pretty much standardized on 720p. However, I've gotten rid of my Sony DVD/VCR combo (or, rather, I'd like to - $50OBO in Portland, you pick up) and I'm using the Xbox 360 as my only DVD player. The recent updates to the Xbox have pumped up the video quality and it's now absolutely better than the Sony Progressive. I'm looking forward to the HD-DVD player this holiday season.
- Powered Zone 2 - If I ever want to run audio upstairs or outside, the receiver has a separately powered second zone.
All in all, I'm VERY happy with the receiver and how much cleaner the whole system works now and I recommend this receiver highly.