Onkyo has really been establishing itself as a market leader when it comes to features and price. Its new Home Theater in a Box offerings are clearly a step above the rest.
While 7.1 systems and HDMI inputs aren’t exactly new, many of Onkyo’s competitors don’t have Dolby ProLogic IIz in their high-end receivers. Onkyo is offering it in their newest entry level home theater-in-a-box systems, the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200.
The HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 both have speakers for a 7.1 channel system and 1080p-capable HDMI inputs. The receivers decode all major audio formats natively, including the high def audio formats available only on Blu-ray, and have 130 watts per channel.
Onkyo’s new U-Port currently allows the connection of an iPod dock and charging system (included) though there have been rumors of other uses of this new proprietary port in the future.
The real coup with both of these systems is Dolby ProLogic IIz, which adds DSP-driven height channels to the front of the room to give a larger and more spacious front image. Some of the newest and best receivers from other manufacturers still don’t have this feature. To see it in an HTiB is quite startling.
If the user is running a 5.1 system, the surround back amps can be used to power the height channels or Zone 2. The problem, of course, is that most people have a hard time placing three speakers up front much less five. But it may be a selling point for some (gotta love those marketing folks) even if it is a feature they’ll never use.
HT-S6200 vs. HT-S7200
There are a few differences between the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200. The 7200 has five HDMI 1.3a inputs, while the 6200 has only four. The HT-S7200 also includes upscaling of component and composite video sources to 1080i, including Faroudja DCDi Edge deinterlacing to eliminate unwanted conversion artifacts. What is not included in the specs is that the S7200 actually has dual subwoofer outputs.
While both have an included 230 watt powered sub, the 7200 gives you the option to add an additional sub. Unlike most of the competition, both the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 include an iPod dock. Too often we see receivers and packages touting iPod support just to find out that an extra purchase is needed. Onkyo’s dock supports everything from the iPod classic to the newest 3G(s) iPhones.
The included speakers are gloss black, seeking to lure buyers in with their high tech looks. The HT-S7200 sports tower mains while the HT-S6200 has satellites all the way around. The towers and all of the satellites have dual 3.25-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter. The HT-S6200 has bookshelf-sized speakers with single 4-inch woofers and a 1-inch dome tweeter on the three front speakers.
Full Fledged Receivers
The best part about the two new HTiB offerings from Onkyo is that they have a full fledged receiver at the heart of them. For someone looking to get in on the ground floor of this hobby without having to do much research but suspects that they’ll be interested in future upgrades, these are a pretty good choice.
The HT-S7200 in particular is nice because of the dual subwoofer outputs and integral upconversion and scaling. While you won’t find 7.1 analogue inputs or pre-outs on either of these receivers, you will find a full fledged receiver with 5-way binding posts and a host of inputs.
You’ll have no problem expanding your system or upgrading your speakers. The inclusion of Audyssey 2EQ auto room correction and Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume should give end users a pretty easy, no-hassle setup.
Go for the HT-S7200
The Onkyo HT-S7200 retails for just under $900 and the HT-S6200 for just under $800. We see no reason why you wouldn’t go for the S7200 for the nominal extra money. If you want to run seven speakers and can’t accommodate towers up front, well, work it out. The upconversion, additional inputs, and dual subwoofer outputs is more than enough justification.
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