192 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2011
I hesitate to write this review because I like Onkyo - I bought this receiver (actually two of them - see below) to replace other Onkyo receivers. However, I wish I had listened to some of the other reviewers on here because this turned into a real headache for me. If you read through the reviews here and on other sites, you will see tales of units having to be returned because of video and other issues. I had my first unit for just over 30 days - just outside the Amazon return period - when it failed with exactly the same problem that is described by another reviewer here. First, the HDMI main output failed, so I switched to the HDMI sub output (which, by the way, isn't a long term solution for a variety of reasons), and then shortly thereafter the sub output failed too.
I had ordered a second unit by that time to use in another room and, guess what... I put it into the system and shortly thereafter its HDMI failed too. I'm not going to bore you with the blow by blow of what happened next, but the short story is that I was told, after having the first unit in the shop for almost a month, that the part that was needed to fix the first receiver was backordered for an additional 60+ days. Although in the end Onkyo did authorize the entire HDMI board to be replaced, getting this done took many phone calls and lots of time, and left me without a receiver for 6+ weeks. I simply sent the second one back.
I normally ignore reviews such as this one under the theory that if a company manufactures enough products, some of them will invariably break, and I don't hold the company responsible for these few inevitable defects. However, out of the currently 7 or so reviews that have been posted for this unit on Amazon, it seems that 5 units have not worked in one way or another. I wish I had given this stronger consideration in my purchasing decision, because having two receivers break within a few week period and the resulting mess was unpleasant.
All of that being said, I can tell you that if you manage to actually get a working unit, and if you are lucky enough for it to continue working, then it is great. But you may just be buying a headache.
81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2011
In years past, many Onkyo owners (myself included) tended to migrate to either the value-curve melting entry-level 6-series or the full chassis muscle of the 8 series and up. The 7 series has long been an "in-between" model in Onkyo's lineup. It was omitted in 2006 altogether and seems to be an easy step to overlook as prices naturally descend above and below it. To this extent, the 70x was the proverbial Jan Brady - not quite the brawny muscle of the 80x or the entry-level, high bang for your buck 60x.
Networking, THX certificiation, and quality video processing have all tricked down the lineup even further this year, making model differentiation for the 709 more difficult. That said, the 709 presents a big leap over the 609 in respects of the version of Audyssey auto room callibration (2EQ vs MultiEQ XT); multichannel pre-outs for the connection of a separate amplifier; dual HDMI outs for video toggling between two displays; the historical inclusion of a learning feature in the remote; and a somewhat ridiculous 8 HDMI inputs. These are all (and in particular MultiEQ XT) considerable reasons to opt for the 709 over the 609. The advent of HDMI and rapdily falling prices have led to a scarcity of inputs on most modern mid-range receivers, notably with Denon. The onkyo tx nr709 and upcoming pioneer vsx-1121 probably offer some of the best connectivity in this space.
I have owned numerous Onkyo products in the past and am well aware of their quirks (massive heat, moody HDMI boards, etc), but have always been impressed by their raw power, strong featureset, and intuitive setup menus. Onkyo appears to have addressed a number of its predecessors' shortcomings in the 709. Gone is the easy-bake oven operating temperatures of past models. In fact, I was shocked to compare it to Denons, Marantzs, and Pioneers operation in an enclosed cabinet to find the 709 an incredibly cool-operating machine. I believe there is an internal fan, but its operation is silent from normal distances.
Somewhat strangely, I have always relied on Onkyos exclusively for my mother and mother-in-law as they are the only receiver that can be setup over the telephone easily. Their menus are intuitive and easy to navigate, unlike modern Denon and Marantzs that seem to always hide something at some point. Beginning in 2010, Onkyo introduced an overlain onscreen display similar to Denon, but an abstract of the full menu/GUI (Denon offers overlain access to the full setup menu). In some ways Onkyo's approach is superior in that it offers great aspect adjustments (ie zoom in on blu rays to remove black bars) and the full picture simultaneously (Denon and Marantz gray the picture to some extent). I must admit I am a fan of the quick-reach tweaks to video and audio settings in addition to input (which is largely redundant considering the remote is already in your hand). The 709 relies on video-processing from the highly touted Marvell Qdeo chipset. This is a significant improvement from the long-in-the tooth Farjouda chip Onkyo dragged in various versions since 2008. The Marvell chip was also used in mid-range Pioneer and Pioneer Elite receivers last year and I found performance to be excellent in both. That said, video processing in receivers is helpful, but far from essential - most displays will offer identical or better processing. From a competive perspective, it should be mentioned that Denon (and Marantz) has dropped the very good ABT-2015 chipset in its mid-range receivers in favor of none or an Analog Devices chip. Pioneer continues to rely on the Marvell chip as well.
Speak setup and callibration is very easy with the Onkyo once the setup microphone is plugged in. Initially, the Onkyo confirms the speaker setup (height, wide, rear/normal, or zone 2) and confirms whether you want to run full audyssey or a quick setup. The former is what I strongly recommend as it unlocks the amazing ability of Audyssey to set speaker distances, levels, crossovers, and other equalizer filters to get the most out of your speakers and set reference volume. The current iteration of Audyssey MultiEQ XT foregoes the center/left/right measurements it did two or three years ago. It does offer multi-positional measurement, but I have found from experience that letting it remain in the center of the listening environment throughout the measuremetns yields the best result.
Real-world power and sound quality is excellent for a receiver in this price range. Many people overstimate the actual power they need in real-world usage and rely on ignorant comments such as "it must be less powerful since i have to turn it up to -20 on movies" as anecdotes of amplification power. The 709 provides ample amplification power that will leave all but truly inefficient speakers struggling at reference volume. In mere anecdotes, the 709 seemed to offer power nearly to the level of my Denon AVR-3311ci, which is a complement to its amplification ability. The 709 is a THX Select2 Receiver, which is largely marketing save the listening modes THX offers (they anecdotally provide a thuddier version of the orignal audio).
In respects of networking, the 709 provides what I would classify as the essentials - Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody, and DLNA streaming. It lacks the bleeding edge Airplay Denon introduced last year and Pioneer improved upon this year in respects of multi-zone playback. The lack of Airplay is somewhat disappointing, but could be overcome with an Apple TV2, which offers video-streaming unlike the aforementioned receivers.
All in all, the Onkyo TX NR709 is an incredible value, although it is not perfect. It lacks a dettachable power plug, which is incredibly pedestrian in light of pre-outs and dual hdmi outs. The lack of airplay relegates the 709's appeal in a world where most people's music library now resides on a pc and an ipod/iphone. That said, I would encourage many people to find a receiver that offers the same featureset, power, and connectivity at the same street price ($650). Well done Onkyo even if most people will still end up picking Marcia.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2011
It's hard to keep reviews like this short, because there are SO many features on this thing. I'll go over some of the things that stand out to me.
The internet radio is one of our favorite functions, you can even browse THOUSANDS of internet radio stations and it's seemlessly intergrated in the receiver. We began listening to a radio station in Hong Kong! Pandora sounds great, so does last FM. The music title/artist displays on the receiver's screen while the song is playing... WOW.
DLNA intergration: Ive used the unit to stream music to the receiver and it works well. My windows 7 PC is setup with Tversity (google it) and it found all my files right away. There is a slight lag browsing the files, but the sound is good regardless.
Sound.. well, Im not going to say it sounds better than (insert receiver name in here), HOWEVER, it is up to par...no distortion, nothing that makes it sound bad, only goodness from this thing. I don't claim to have golden ears, there are just TOO many variable in sound (mostly it depends on the SPEAKERS) you have.
Audyssey's MULTIEQ XT is the BIGGEST reason why I chose this receiver, for the price/performance... it cannot beat! If it's one thing that affects your sound quality, is the quality of your analyzer (Audyssey, yamaha's YPAO, pioneer's MCACC). If you look at the audio/video forums, this is a feature that is high sought after. This one is better than the Audyssey 2EQ system because it has better crossover control. Here is the quote from audyssey's website:
"MultEQ has twice the resolution of 2EQ (that was designed to fit within the constraints of smaller processing chips). So, MultEQ will do a much better job correcting the low frequencies of the main speakers. MultEQ XT will do an even better job as it has 8 times higher resolution than MultEQ. You can see the full comparison here: "
Video performance is flawless... perfect 1080p upscaling
It takes about a second to switch inputs, slight lag, but I can live with that. I even set up the HDMI return channel, so we can use the built in Netflix tha the TV has, to automatically "return" the audio signal back via the HDMI input to the TV so that you dont have to have an extra output cable. Nifty.
The unit gets moderately hot, not as hot as my previous onkyo units but not as cool as my pioneers either. Somewhere in between.
There is bi-amp capability, if you want that. I use it, and it's be perfect so far.
BTW: I was previously debating between the Pioneer 1021k because it has 1.) airplay and 2.) they have a nifty ipad/ipod/iphone app. However, what pushed me over was that 1.) airplay does not support video, which I would have just use Apple TV 2 instead, which in the future should be able to do screen mirroring for the ipad :) 2.) As for the app, if u read the reviews, it's just "cool" but not very useful. In contrast, there is an app for Onkyo receivers as well that's on sale at the app store (at the time of writing ) $5. I played with it, but honestly, i'm not going to use my ipad as a remote. Cool, but not practical for me.
All in all, this is excellent receiver for the price. I would also heavily consider the Onkyo RC-370 as it's the same thing as the 709 without an extra output and one less input, and slightly less power. However the 709 most definitely has a "cleaner" exterior look. The 370 has logos all over the face of the unit that's printed on.
As of today 8/25/2011.. ive had the receiver for about a month now it's been working without a hitch.
I also how onkyo updates their receivers as well, they don't just leave their customers hanging. Here are the latest firmware updates from onkyo.. Another reason why I end up choosing Onkyo
As of 8 August 2011
* Adds support for AUPEO! Personal Radio, Internet Music Service;
* Enhances operability with the Remote App for Android.
As of 15 July 2011
* Improves picture output of 1080p/24 sources.
As of 14 June 2011
* Improves audio/video output in HDMI Through mode;
* Stabilizes configuration of static IP address in network settings;
* Improves connectivity of UWF-1 wireless LAN adapter (Supports wireless LAN access points with SSIDs that contain non-alphanumeric characters);
* Reduces noise during audio playback from iPod/iPhone via USB port.
As of 26 April 2011
* Enhances video output when Monitor Out setting is set to "Both";
* Improves update functionality;
* Supports manual setting of hexadecimal WEP keys for UWF-1.
Please input the WEP key again after updating firmware.
If you're deciding between the 609 and 809... I didn't get the 609 because I really wanted MultiEQ XT. I didn't get the 809 because it's substantially more money for extra power output (unlikely will make a difference for most people) and the supposedly more powerful video processor. So the 709 hit the spot for me.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
EDIT (9/11/11): HOLY CRAP! The video problem just happened on my receiver! I managed to fix it on mine, at least temporarily (read on)! I was using it earlier this morning and then tonight, NO video on main out. I switched the HDMI cable to sub out and I was getting video but no audio pass-through, and no on screen menus. I went to the manual in hopes of finding something helpful and noticed the hard reset procedure (Hold VCR/DVR & press ON/STANDBY). Thought it was worth a try and it worked! I lost ALL my settings in the process but main out is working again. I guess I'll wait and see if it happens again before calling Onkyo. If you lose main out give it a try, it was on the first page of the trouble shooting section.
ORIGINAL POST (8/22/11): To be honest I'm a little suspicious of all the complaining going on with this receiver. I've had my Onkyo TX-NR709 for more than a month now and I have had ZERO problems with it. Some of the complaining reviews say "Check the Internet for ONYKO Video problems"; I suggest you search for "Onkyo TX-NR709 video problems" (since it's a more relevant search to this product). What you'll find, if you do the search, is links back to the Amazon review page and people generally discussing the receiver, no complaints (Google search done 8/22/11). Onkyo has had issues in the past, I don't deny that, but this generation of receivers doesn't appear to have its predecessor's video problems. Another example I'll give is the Onkyo TX-NR609, and TX-NR509, which I bet dollars to donuts use very similar if not identical video-boards, do not have any of the same video-problem-reviews people are complaining about here (feel free to quash my theory, with proof, if you find otherwise). In the meantime I'll keep my fingers crossed that my 709 doesn't develop the problem.
I also haven't had any problems with the network connectivity like other people are "experiencing". I have a degree in network engineering but I don't think you'll need one to get this working on your network. I plugged it into my ethernet network, ?????, PROFIT. I don't have any experience with the UWF-1 wireless adapter, but I don't see how it could talk on a network without a MAC address. Maybe turn off your MAC address filtering till you figure it out.
Moving on... I love this receiver! The features list is phenomenal. The sound is great. I love having Audyssey MultEQ® XT take the guess work out of calibration. There really isn't much to say about this amplifier that others haven't already mentioned. If you're looking for a good receiver, have done your homework, and are on this page you probably already know most of the details.
I'm not going to say you won't have a problem with the video or the networking if you buy an Onkyo TX-NR709. You can let the one and two-star reviews scare you away or you can take a chance on it and trust you'll get a good unit like I did (like the majority of people do, I bet).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
When I switched to a 3D TV it set off the usual sequence of upgrades, such as this receiver and a new BluRay player.
This unit replaced my Yamaha RXV3800, which was double the Onkyo's price in the day, so it had a lot to live up to.
I am happy to say the Onkyo does.
I had to call the customer service line at first when the audio was not working with the new Blu Ray player. They were
patient and helpful, even when it turned out I'd switched off the audio on the HDMI myself ! I'd have laughed at me, but the
chap at Onkyo was respectful and I appreciated that.
I love the fact that I can use the menus while watching video. The Yamaha would not let you do that. The menus are clear and intuitive.
I like that the Onkyo found my Aquious TV and synced it up. The surround calibration worked flawlessly, and pretty quickly. I'd
given up on it on the Yamaha, it never seemed to get it right with the older chipset. I pretty much only use this for watching movies,
and it does very well with that sort of material. However, one weak spot is the amplifier as a dedicated stereo component.
There doesn't seem to be the kick the Yamaha has in this mode, nor the clarity. Then again it cost half.
Another thing I had to do was turn everything off... by that I mean all the Audyssey options, the Dolby options, on the receiver and the Blu ray player. It was apparent the player and the receiver were fighting with each other and it was showing up as lip sync issues.
I've seen this unit selling for 650$ which makes it a real bargain, I thought it was great at 799$.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
The unit works OK for the most part. I thought I would share the most disappointing aspect I have found so that future buyers might make a more informed decision.
The feature that drove me to favor it over the 609 was that the 709 has two HDMI outputs. I thought they ought to both function completely, as I suspect most people would. After working with the unit for several days, I was certain that in standby only one of the HDMI outputs would pass the sound and it was nearly always the HDMI Sub (secondary) output. The firmware update was installed and the unit cleared several times. I had intended to use the primary HDMI to the local TV and assign the second to a wireless transmitter. But with this condition it was necessary to wire both outputs to the TV. When the receiver was off we used the sub HDMI out to watch and listen through the TV, and when the receiver was on I could access the setup screens only from the primary HDMI out.
I thought I had a bad unit. After 8 days Onkyo confirmed by email that only one HDMI will be sound enabled in standby, but it should be the primary output that has the sound. That's a bit late to provide support which is wrong in my case as to which works correctly.
The manual does not seem to advise that one of the HDMI outputs is crippled, but I think it ought to spell that out very clearly somewhere. If I intended to always use the receiver for sound at the local TV I could get around this problem, but we don't always want the volume level required of our floor mount speakers with children sleeping above the viewing area. I will use a splitter to achieve the result I want, but I am disappointed that a key aspect of this level receiver compared to its lesser sibling is not fully functional. At the price difference, I could have the 609 and a splitter with a fair amount less invested.
A replacement 709 works the same, though depending upon what HDMI pass through option is selected you can change which HDMI out has sound in pass through. Only one of the 4 dual modes permitted the primary to have the sound and it would disable it on the secondary. Why could they not make both funciton 100%?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
In terms of functionality and features nothing in the TX-NR709 price range even comes close. Onkyo packed so much into it, that I expected them to make compromises when it comes to sound and amplification quality. However, my non-audiophile ears cannot detect any such compromises. In fact, in direct comparison to my previous Denon and Yamaha receivers the Onkyo sounds better in stereo, and it sounds *much better* and more detailed when it comes to surround sound. Possibly thanks to the excellent room calibration system that my previous receivers lack.
The main reason I preferred the TX-NR709 over lower-end receivers and those from other brands is future compatibility. I don't intend to purchase a new receiver in the next 5 years, so I wanted something that doesn't make me regret not paying more for a feature I might need later on. Examples include dual HDMI out (I'm thinking about adding a projector to the TV), 4K support for higher than FullHD resolution (not that I see much need for that, but who knows), 4 ohm speakers compatibility (if I upgrade my speakers, I don't want the receiver to limit my choices) and a learning remote control to reduce the clutter on my coffee table. MultEQ XT room calibration (which also calibrates the sub-woofer) rounds up a very nice product I'm not likely to regret. Well, at least not if it continues to work reliably.
I don't have many issues to report, but there are a few.
HDMI handshake. Occasionally when I turn the receiver on it reports that there's no signal from my HTPC. However, when I turn it off and then back on it suddenly does see the signal. I guess it's the infamous HDMI handshake that some people refer to. Upgrading to the latest firmware seems to have no effect on this issue.
Feature clutter. There are too many needless surround modes. Going through all of them takes a long time. It would have been nice to be able to remove them from the menu altogether. The modes I'd be happy to get rid of include: Orchestra, Unplugged, TV Logic, Game-RPG, Game-Action, Game-Rock, Game-Sports, Theater-Dimensional, Neo:6, Neo:6 Cinema, Neo:6 Music. Luckily they don't usually display in one list and are also dependent on the mode button the user chooses (there are separate sound mode buttons for Movies, Music, Games and THX), so it's not that difficult to avoid the un-needed modes.
Confusing volume-related options. Dolby Volume (on/off - "automatically adjusts the difference in volume levels which can occur between different contents or source components"), Dolby Volume Leveler (off/low/mid/high - "maintains the perceived loudness of all contents, coming from different channels or input sources."), Dolby Volume Half Mode (off/on - "Dolby Volume applies a bass and treble attenuation to the audio when the system gain exceeds reference level."), Audyssey Dynamic EQ (off/on - "enjoy great sound even when listening at low volume levels"), Audyssey Dynamic Volume (light/medium/heavy - "This setting affects volume the most. It quiets the loud parts, such as explosions, and boosts the quiet parts so they can be heard"), THX Loudness Plus volume control technology ("enjoy even subtle nuances of audio expression at low volume", and last but not least IntelliVolume (set in 1 dB steps - "set the input level for each input selector individually". Some are easier to understand the others, but overall my head is spinning. I have no idea how to best utilize these modes and whether it's a good idea to combine them or not. My solution for now is to turn them all off.
Phono source cannot be configured to use an external phono amp (which I have, a NAD device which is superior to the circuitry built into the receiver). It would have been nice to be able to switch to phono using the dedicated button on the remote, instead of having to use another source option. At least there's an option to rename it, but the name is only displayed after I choose the source.
Low-res splash screen turns LG TV out of Just Scan mode. Granted, LG is just to blame as Onkyo for this issue. However, if the receiver would stick to 1080P in all cases (including when it starts up and displays the splash screen) the TV would stay in the Just Scan aspect ratio instead of switching to 16:9. The result is that I have to manually change it back to Just Scan mode, otherwise the desktop is displayed truncated with the Start menu button and the Windows Taskbar mostly out of the screen.
I'm extremely happy with the sound, functionality and features of this receiver. I don't think I have it long enough to judge reliability or dismiss the bad reviews, I can only hope I won't experience them. As for the issues that I listed, I don't consider them to be significant enough to really affect my overall satisfaction from this product, which is indeed very high. If you're not bothered with these issues/nits and the TX-NR709 fits your budget then I can highly recommend this receiver.
Edit (3/2015): Stay away. The receiver is nice in terms of features and quality, but reliability leaves a lot to be desired, enough to drop its rating from 4 stars to 2 (and I'm being generous). During the first 3 years I had it I had to service it twice for HDMI failure, and now that the warranty is over all digital outputs (coaxial and optical) are dead. Great. Reading other reviews about Onkyo receivers, reliability doesn't seem to be their strongest suit. Most likely this is my last Onkyo.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2012
This is the 2nd Onkyo unit I've purchased in the last few years. The 1st was the one that came with my HT-9100THX. That HTIB is a great unit with excellent 7.1 sound and plenty of input options to suit any home theater enthusiasts needs. That first receiver went bad after only 4 months in my home. I decided my first step would be to contact the online store where I purchased it(a competitor of Amazon's that actually cares about their customers). They listened to my situation and did the right thing by offering to replace the receiver with a brand new one. Once I received the new one, I sent the old one back to them. The new one worked perfectly ever since.
A few months ago, I purchased this unit so that I could make use of my new 3D TV. Amazon had the best price on this so I purchased it here. The unit didn't even last an entire month before it started flickering again the same way the old one did. Within a few weeks it got to the point where it basically became an expensive paperweight. Doing some research online I found that Onkyo seems to have a problem with HDMI boards overheating on their receivers. This has been a known issue across multiple models for many years, and they can't seem to nail it down. Some units never overheat and some do almost instantly. The fact that they continue to sell receivers without nailing this problem down is appalling. They know they they sell faulty units, but continue to sell them anyway. The very definition of shady business practices.
I literally only had the thing for a little over a month so I figured Amazon would surely help me out with a replacement. Their competitor did, and I had that unit for many more months than I had this one. Low and behold, I was told by a very sarcastic and rude Amazon customer service rep that since it had been over 30 days since I ordered it, AMAZON WAS NO LONGER RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSISTING ME WITH THIS LEMON THEY SOLD ME. Even though I had spent over $4,000 with Amazon over the previous 2 months, I am an Amazon Prime member, and was only 2 WEEKS PAST THE EXCHANGE PERIOD!! I can't understand how I should find it acceptable that I can purchase something for over $500, have it break in just over a month, and Amazon has no responsibility to assist me. Very willing to take my money, but very unwilling to help with they were needed. Amazon will no long be receiving any more of my money.
Next step is to go through Onkyo's "customer service" department. They were also unwilling to exchange this lemon. My only options were to either drag this 40 pound monstrosity to a service center in Queens (which would involve quite a few train transfers with this thing in hand) or SHIP IT AT MY OWN EXPENSE to their service center in New Jersey. I chose the latter.
At this point, it's been a month since I shipped it and I haven't heard back from the center so I decided to give them a call today. They informed me that they received it 3 weeks ago but haven't even looked at it yet because they are backed up. They don't have it scheduled to even be looked at until late next week. Once they do look at it, they'll have to order parts from Onkyo which could take 3-4 weeks to arrive, then they can take up to 2 weeks to install the parts and ship the unit back to me. Shipping could take a week as well. I called up Onkyo "customer service" again to complain and the rep actually told me "they're backed up, what do you want from us?".
At this point I've paid a good chunk of money for a broken piece of junk. It has worked for under a month and I've been without it's use for almost 3 months. Neither Onkyo nor Amazon will take responsibility for correcting this situation and at this point I'd never recommend either company to anyone. If you are looking for a receiver to complete your home theater, do yourself a favor and don't buy an Onkyo and be sure not to purchase from Amazon. My recommendation is go with a Harman/Kardon and purchase it on Newegg. Harman Kardon makes recievers that actually work, and Newegg actually cares about its' customers.
Onkyo = EPIC FAIL
Amazon = EPIC FAIL
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
Feeling a little frustrated by the complexities of properly setting up 5.1, 7.1 or x.1 surround sound?
Baffled by the numerous audio and video formats that confront the home theater user?
Want to solve these problems (and more) quickly, and just enjoy your music or home theater?
This is the one, if you ask me. And at a great price.
It is extremely gratifying when you run across a product where it's obvious they've really thought about what the customer wants. This is the kind of amazing tech that makes me want to meet the designers and buy them a beer (in addition to buying their creation).
From out of the box, onto the shelf, to all plugged in was only about a half hour (and that includes taking down my ten-year old Yamaha receiver).
The first thing you notice is that the back panel has just about every kind of input possible -- both audio and video. And many of them can be assigned to whatever "channel" you want. For example, if you need to feed in YPbPr (component video via red, green, and blue RCA-size jacks), it's right there; in fact, two of them in this case. Then you tell the Onkyo TX-NR709 whether that input should be called CBL/SAT or BD/DVD or whatever, so when you hit the corresponding button on the front you are picking up that video signal.
And, yes, it converts that video signal to an HDMI output -- beautifully. (HERE'S WHY I NEEDED THAT: My great Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p streams HD video extremely well. But, for some reason, it puts out a video signal that won't display on my Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350. Since the Roku is the only video device where this happens, it's probably an issue with HDCP content protection that the Roku isn't handling properly. But Roku support was not helpful. The answer? Use the Roku YPbPr component video output into the Onkyo -- voila! A perfect picture via HDMI from the Onkyo to my projector, and 8 feet wide.)
The Onkyo TX-NR709 is the only audio-visual equipment I've ever owned that gives you that "It just works" experience. The input / switching / setup features are quite intuitive, and there are many features to automatically manage things (see below). They even included little pre-printed labels to put on the speaker wires so you don't mess up.
AUDIO SETUP & SOUND QUALITY
First, this is a powerful amp. I will rarely, if ever, want to use more than 70% of its power, and I have a fairly big 14' x 23' room to fill.
There is one amazingly cool feature they've included: the Audyssey sound setup system. This comes with a little stand-up microphone. You plug the mike in, and the Onkyo goes into automated Audyssey setup mode, which generates tones, tests for speaker presence, and even tests the room's acoustics. What this means is you, my friend, do not have to touch a single speaker setup / tweaking button if you don't want to.
Do you know the difference between high left, high right, surround left, and surround right? I sure don't, but Audyssey does. I have six main speakers (plus a couple of sub-woofers). How do I adjust for brand-new standards optimized for... I don't know... eleven speakers? You got me, Sparky.
The first thing Audyssey does is test what speakers you do and do not have connected. Given your actual speaker setup, it automatically makes ALL the adjustments you need to accommodate your 5.1, 7.1, or x.1 whatzit Dolby surround THX whatever packed into your signal sources -- whether Blu-Ray movies, high-def satellite signals, CDs, or portable players like iPod/Phone. No center speaker? (My problem exactly.) Adjusted for you, sir -- will there be anything else today?
It even measures the distance of your speakers from the mike position, includes that data in the calculations, and gives you a full report of what it found before you face the task of... simply having to push the "OK" button. Hey, I can handle that. And I did notice one thing in particular to confirm that it worked: on first use, the Onkyo is programmed to assume there is a center speaker. You know this because the unit has a lit-up diagram on the front panel showing what speakers it thinks it is feeding to. After the Audyssey routine completed (three minutes), I could see it had turned off the center speaker icon on the Onkyo. And, yes, the sound is great. Audyssey is one of the best things to happen to audio since stereo.
Don't get me wrong; you can still go in and tweak every speaker and its response signature until the cows come home. Me, I'd rather do a tax return.
Testing on a Blu-Ray disc (title: Troy - The Director's Cut [Blu-ray] -- wicked awesome movie -- get it today) the surround sound during some very intense and acoustically complex battle scenes is astonishing. You hear arrows whizzing over your head.
A couple of other features of note: auto EQ and auto sound level. The first keeps your overall response profile (e.g., bass and treble levels, etc.) within a certain range, even when switching among wildly different audio sources. The second evens out volume levels, one obvious use of which is preventing TV commercials from making you go deaf. About 15 years ago, I walked into an audio store and asked if they had any equalizers that would tame all my inputs so I could get the output to sound the same no matter what the input. They looked at me like I was speaking Vulcan. Now, it's here. Thank you, Onkyo, for recognizing my genius!
Aside from extremely useful and top-notch video input and conversion capabilities described above, this thing is overall a monster for today's AV needs. Plug in all kinds of wild and crazy stuff, and get one beautiful output via HDMI with completely transparent switching.
I was concerned about video signal quality when going through a switch, but I can see absolutely no difference in high-def video image when the Blu-Ray player is connected directly to my projector, or whether it is connected through the Onkyo. The Onkyo specs promise upconverting of video, and I see no reason to disbelieve that. The Roku streaming connection mentioned above produces a completely gorgeous image, as good as Blu-Ray, as far as I can tell.
Onkyo has built in great video handling features, such as the ability to change the aspect ratio as it's going through their switch. My projector has a limitation here the Onkyo helps me overcome: when connecting via HDMI cable, the projector sets aspect automatically and will not let you change it. This is a problem with some DVDs that aren't mastered very well. A notoriously bad example is the version of 2001: A Space Odyssey that comes in the "Stanley Kubrick Collection" boxed set. I don't know the correct aspect ratio mumbo jumbo, but this DVD was obviously mastered to accommodate 20-year old tube TVs -- black bars appear on all four sides of the picture. When projected, this results in a very small image and is disappointing. What do you do when that's the only copy you have, but you want to watch it anyway with friends?
Onkyo TX-NR709 to the rescue: just go into the receiver's Source settings, and change the aspect ratio there to Zoom. Shazam! A wide-screen picture.
I'll say it again: this receiver's video handling and switching capabilities are monster.
I've been noticing lately how we live in a golden age of entertainment. Products like this bring out the real potential.
Check out the specs all you want, but hear me now, believe me later (when you get it): you're in for a big treat with this fine machine.
Happy listening and viewing.
EDIT: A final shout-out to DirecTV for their outstanding HD quality signal and great lineup of HD channels. The live signal is perfect, and DVR recordings on their receivers is just as good. I have about 25 titles recorded in HD (going back to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to very recent releases) ready to go at any time. It's amazing this can be done with satellite technology.
Between your DVD and Blu-Ray discs, the Roku streaming device (with an Amazon Prime subscription for thousands of free titles in HD), DirecTV, and the Onkyo as a hub for all of it, you are bound to be perfectly entertained for the foreseeable future.
I know I sound a bit enthusiastic, but that's because I am. We've come a very, very long way from a decade ago where the very best available (at much more money) was a good upconverting DVD player and a mere office-quality projector.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2011
This A/V receiver replaces a 4 year old Onkyo TX-SR605. It is only two weeks since in service so I can not attest as to reliability.
1. Two HDMI outputs. This is perfect for my TV/Projector setup.
2. HDMI "Through". This works great for when I want to watch my TV straight thru from the cable box without the receiver on.
3. The combination of the two above plus the many HDMI inputs has allowed me to simplify and eliminate component and digital audio cables. The HDMI through did not work on one of the cable channels at first, I experimented with the HDMI upconversion settings on the cable box and succeeded in being able to watch all channels without the receiver being on.
4. Network connectivity - Connecting to the network via CAT5 was a cinch. No communication issues or problems. I can play Pandora and Internet stations without any problems. DLNA also works great for audio files. I am able to play songs from a computer on the other end of the house seamlessly.
5. Android APP- The Onkyo Remote App works great. It is mostly a curiosity, since the unit's remote works just as well. A benefit might be to control the receiver in a dark room or from far away. There is an Iphone app also.
6. Phono input - I still have my old Sony turntable and like to play LPs every now and then.
The DLNA is only good for audio. It would be great if videos could be streamed also. If anybody knows of a way to stream video I would like to know.
Other comments: I am using the receiver as 7.1. Of note: Make sure your Blue Ray player HDMI output is setup for bitstream and not PCM in order for the receiver to do the proper decoding to get TrueHD Dolby when available. Otherwise, all you will get is multichannel.
Assuming that this is a reliable unit, it is a great value for the features and price.