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Onkyo Upgrades 2 AVR-Speaker Packages

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Posted June 14 2012 - 05:18 PM

Onkyo is stepping up the functionality of its two home theater A/V receiver (AVR)-speaker packages, which are the company's first with InstaPrevue capability.Onkyo's $899-suggested 7.1-channel HT-S7500 adds InstaPrevue, more HDMI inputs and upgraded amplifier technology compared to its predecessor.The $899-suggested 7.1-channel HT-S7500 and 5.1-channel $799 HT-S6500 also add more HDMI outputs, discrete amplifiers, and Wide Range Amplifier Technology (WRAT) compared to their same-priced predecessors. Both are networked models that ship this month.

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They join two other AVR-speaker packages shipped earlier this year at suggested retails of $649 and $399.

In the two latest systems, InstaPrevue technology from Silicon Image delivers live picture-in-picture thumbnail previews of video sources connected via HDMI inputs, including video from Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and set-top boxes. The technology makes it unnecessary for consumers to remember whether a particular source is labeled HDMI 1, HDMI 2 or HDMI 3.

The 7x85-watt 7500 features seven HDMI 1.4a inputs and one 1.4a output with audio return channel compared to its predecessor's four HDMI inputs. The 5x85-watt 6500 ups the number of HDMI outputs to six from its predecessor's four, with the number of HDMI outputs with audio return channel remaining at one. WRAT extends frequency response from 10Hz to 100kHz, and discrete amplification of each channel enhances sound reproduction performance.

Both models share multiple features, including Marvel Qdeo video processor to upscale low-resolution video to 1080p and, for the new higher resolution displays, to 4K. Both systems also feature TI Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-bit DACs on all channels, a 32-bit DSP processing chip, and a direct digital connection to iPods and iPhones via a front-panel USB Port. The port can also be used with Onkyo's optional UWF-1 Wireless LAN Adapter as well as a planned UBT-1 USB Bluetooth adapter.

Shared networking features include access to Pandora, Rhapsody, Slacker, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Last.fm, vTuner, Spotify and Aupeo!. They are also DLNA-certified and Windows 7 compatible, and they play back MP3, WMA, WMA lossless, FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, AAC and LPCM audio files through a local network.

Both can also be controlled from Onkyo's remote control apps for iPod Touch/iPhone, Android phones and the Kindle Fire.

Other features common to both are Audyssey 2EQ to correct room acoustics, Audyssey Dynamic EQ for loudness correction and Audyssey Dynamic Volume, which maintains a preset listening level and dynamic range when playing back different sources or when switching between TV programs.

Both also feature Advanced Music Optimizer to expand the dynamic range of compressed digital music files.

The 6500 features zone 2 preouts, and the 7500 adds powered zone 2 and Dolby ProLogic IIz post processing, which adds front-height channels