Onkyo's home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems tend to be everything HTIBs usually aren't: big, boxy, and they actually sound pretty good. Today the company rolled out two new 7.1 HTIBs, HT-S7200 and HT-S6200, which are step-ups to the existing HT-S5200 and HT-S3200 (full review).
Onkyo's new HTIBs have several upgrades, but the first thing we noticed is that the systems aren't stuck with the same "pass-through-only" HDMI inputs that plagued the step-down HT-S3200 and HT-S5200. Both the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 can accept audio over HDMI (you don't need to run separate cables like on the step-down model), and have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
The included receivers also have Dolby ProLogic IIz decoding, which enables the use of "height" speakers placed above your standard front speakers. You can read our experience with the technology, but the short story is we didn't feel it was worth the hassle.
The included AV receiver looks to be nearly identical on both systems, with the major exception being the HT-S7200 has five HDMI inputs, while the HT-S6200 has four. Otherwise, both systems have 130-watt receivers that come with Audyssey 2EQ automatic speaker calibration, plus two Audyssey sound processing modes: Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume. The included AV receiver also features Onkyo's propriety universal port connection, which works with the included UP-A1 iPod dock.
The other major difference between the two systems is the included speaker package. The HT-S7200 features two tall-boy speakers (dual 3.25-inch woofer plus a 1-inch tweeter), plus surround bookshelf speakers, a center channel, and a 230-watt subwoofer with a 10-inch woofer. The HT-S6200 includes nearly the same setup, except trading the tall-boy speakers for another pair of bookshelf speakers. The speaker package included with the HT-S7200 will also be available separately as the SKS-HT870 with $500 list price.
Both the HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 are currently available, with list prices of $900 and $700, respectively.