The worlds of home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems and audiophiles are pretty much mutually exclusive, but Onkyo traditionally has come the closest to making it work. Unlike most companies, Onkyo tends to include separates-style AV receiver and full-size speakers in its HTIBs, eschewing the lifestyle-friendly tiny speakers that you see on systems from Sony and Panasonic. Onkyo has announced two new HTIB systems in this style, the HT-S6100 and the HT-S7100, and both are significantly more featured than your average HTIB setup. Let's take a look at their key features:
The Onkyo HT-S6100
Key features of the Onkyo HT-S6100:
- 7.1 channels, 130 watts per channel
- Seven satellite speakers plus a subwoofer
- 4 HDMI 1.3 inputs
- Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
- 1080i upconversion for analog signals, using Faroudja DCDi Edge video processing
- Audyssey 2EQ automatic speaker calibration
- Available now with a list price of $700
The Onkyo HT-S7100
Step-up features of the Onkyo HT-S7100:
- Two speaker stands included
- Available in August with a list price of $800
As we said before, these HTIBs include real, separates-style AV receivers. Having a real AV receiver is great because it makes it easier to upgrade your speakers in the future or add additional components, which can be problematic on the AV receiver/DVD player combos that are included with many HTIBs. Even better, the included AV receivers are pretty well-featured, including four HDMI inputs, onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and HDMI upconversion for analog sources. Videophiles should take note, however, that we weren't exactly satisfied with the analog-to-HDMI video performance of the similar TX-SR606, which also featured the same Faroudja DCDi Edge video processing.
From the information released so far, the upgrades on the HT-S7100 seem pretty paltry, so we'll be interested to see if Onkyo adds any additional functionality to make the $100 price premium worth it. In the meantime, we'll be doing our best to get our hands on a review sample of the HT-S6100 to see if has premium sound quality to match its premium feature set.