Onkyo has been known to cater to consumers at every price point and has just released another 3D ready A/V receiver. The new Onkyo HT-RC260 is quite similar in specs to the TX-SR608. There is no THX certification and no PC input – for $50 less. Other than that you get the same high level of build quality, 7.2 channels of amplification, similar power rating and the latest HDMI ver1.4a inputs. HDMI 1.4a brings compatibility with the new 3D video format, as well as an ARC (Audio Return Channel) from your display back to the receiver.
The Onkyo HT-RC260 has the same black finish similar to previous Onkyo models. The layout is simple and functional. The receiver is flanked by a standby button on the left, a large volume control on the right and a Tuning/Preset selector next to it. The center digital fluorescent readout is clear yet subtle so that it does not affect movie viewing in a darkened room. Below the display is a row of mode selection and source select buttons. A headphone jack, setup mic input, aux input and an HDMI input complete the front face layout.
For an entry level receiver the connectivity options available are more than adequate. You get 6 HDMI inputs (one in front) and one HDMI output located near the top of the back panel.
You also get 2 component video inputs and 4 sets of composite video inputs for your low resolution devices. Optical and coaxial inputs are available for digital audio.
What’s new is a Universal port for your iPod/iPhone. A full set of color coded speaker terminals occupy the right half. There is an additional set of speaker outputs for the 2nd zone, which can also be used for ‘front height’ speakers. There are no multi channel analog inputs as you are expected to use HDMI for your blu-ray and other hi-def sources. Unlike the SR608, there is no PC input and no connection for SIRIUS Radio.
Even though this is an entry level receiver, the feature set is impressive and is more than capable of delivering high end performance when matched with the right display and speakers. The 100 watts power output per channel is capable of delivering room shaking sound when matched with mid to large sized speakers.
All video sources, regardless of resolution, are upscaled to 1080p using Faroudja DCDi Cinema processor. Audio processing incorporates 24bit/192kHz Burr-Brown DACs, lossless Dolby and DTS codecs, and the expanded surround formats of Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz. Onkyo uses the shortest path for its audio signals. Together with the Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry and jitter-cleaning technology you will get audio reproduction that is faithful to the source.
Here’s a summary of the features:
- HDMI 1.4 Support for 3-D Video and ARC – the 3D-ready HDMI 1.4 inputs on the TX-SR608 let you simultaneously connect 3 high-definition sources such as a Blu-ray player, a gaming console, and a cable/satellite tuner
- 192 kHz/24-Bit Burr-Brown DAC – High-quality Burr-Brown DACs work to optimize analog audio performance on the TX-SR608. These DACs perform advanced 24-bit signal processing and support sampling rates of up to 192 kHz. They also work to reduce jitter so you get better sound for movies as well as for music playback.
- Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz – Two new surround-sound technologies from Audyssey and Dolby offers new ways to set up the speakers in your home theater system. Audyssey DSX lets you incorporate “front wide” speakers in place of the usual surround back speakers, allowing you to expand the width of the soundstage. These channels help to produce a more realistic soundstage and a more immersive listening experience. Alternatively, Audyssey DSX can reconfigure the TX-SR608’s surround back channels to deliver “front height” channels. These channels carry ambient, non-directional audio that adds a new vertical dimension to your movies and games. Dolby Pro Logic IIz provides a similar front-height speaker option that likewise works to create a more enveloping home theater experience.
- Audyssey Room Correction Technologies – Audyssey 2EQ Acoustic Room Correction tailors multi-channel audio for your home theater speaker set-up by measuring three room positions and applying a resolution filter to the satellite speakers to correct for room acoustics. Audyssey Dynamic Volume automatically compensates for annoying volume fluctuations in audio content during jarring commercial breaks. Finally, Audyssey Dynamic EQ maintains a consistent bass response, tonal balance, and surround-sound effect at different volume levels, so you can enjoy the natural dynamics of your content regardless of the volume.
- New overlaid On-Screen Display – On-screen set-up menus appear overlaid on the video image you’re watching. This means you can adjust the settings immediately, without having to switch back and forth from a blank screen background.
- Universal Port for Single-Cable Connection of Onkyo Dock for iPod or HD Radio Tuner
- Front-panel audio input for direct connection – If you have an iPod or other MP3 player, you can connect it to the TX-SR608’s front panel for quick and convenient audio playback. Your player’s compressed digital music files can then receive a quality boost from the receiver’s Music Optimizer technology.
- Play Different Audio Sources in Two Different Zones
Onkyo has once again introduced a product that over delivers. They worked on perfecting the basics, left out the frills and paid attention to details. At a shade below $550, the Onkyo HT-RC260 is capable of giving you soul satisfying sound and pristine picture quality that is up there with the best. Quality home theater has never been more affordable.
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