Onkyo TX-SR875 A/V Receiver Page 3

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Photo GalleryThe SR875 is one of the first receivers I've encountered that decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD if and when either is detected on incoming HDMI from a compatible Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD player. Unfortunately, my Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player isn't one, so I can't comment on these workings. Nor can I comment on the SR875's onboard DSD decoding for SACD, since my SACD player is an old model that doesn't bitstream out the DSD format. Too bad -- although I recognize that I'm among the apparently rapidly dwindling number of Americans who care about SACD.

ERGONOMICS Onkyo's RC-690M remote, supplied with the SR875, is an old-fashioned, displayless, seven-component (plus two extra zones) design. And you know what? It worked just fine. Decent labeling, good illumination, a stubby joystick thingy for cursor control, and logical layout made its learning curve pleasantly gentle.

I found a bunch of other features I really appreciated. The Onkyo's full-HD graphics capability means that "pop-up" displays for things such as volume and listening mode come right up over HD content without disturbing the image. Also among these displays is a nice translucent overlay of XM data; I only wish XM's metadata were more complete. The Onkyo also accepts a Sirius outboard add-on, so you could have both satcasters available. (There's also an optional iPod dock.) As is usual with Onkyos, you can temporarily trim individual channel levels easily through dedicated remote keys, with any changes automatically reverting to the calibrated defaults after a trip through Standby.

Source-switching could be a tad slow, taking up to 6 seconds or so to relock on a new resolution, but this is pretty standard among video-scaling switchers of all types. Another thing: The SR875 runs hot. Real hot. A few hours of idling makes the top cover uncomfortably warm to the touch, and an hour of high-volume multichannel playback raises the mercury still more. So this isn't a receiver well suited to in-cabinet placement unless there's sufficient ventilation, which might best involve a fan of some sort.

BOTTOM LINE Otherwise, I have very little mud to sling. This is a top-flight A/V receiver capable of kicking out top-flight home theater. And if the Onkyo TX-SR875 proves a harbinger, as I suspect it may, shoppers who waited for the 2008 generation of A/V receiver models with HDMI 1.3a can smile quietly.

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