AT A GLANCE
Ready for UHD with HDMI 2.0
Refined amplifiers headline strong sonics
Outstanding multiroom abilities, including dual HD-on-HDMI programs
Dolby Atmos capability
Proprietary auto-EQ had much subtler effect than previous-gen’s Audyssey
Onkyo’s usual benchmark audio and video get incremental upgrades, plus new features that include future-proofing HDMI 2.0 and Dolby Atmos.
Onkyo may or may not be the actual market leader in audio/video receivers, measured by unit sales, dollars, or any other B-school metric you care to name. But I’m fairly certain that, year in, year out, they produce more new AVR models combining performance, value, and innovation than anyone else. The TX-NR838 is a suitable example. On the face of things, the receiver seems identical to last year’s TX-NR828, which it replaces: unchanged power ratings, same basic specs, nearly identical quantities of inputs and outputs (this year’s version drops the composite count by one and kicks S-video to the curb altogether), and largely untouched cosmetics and user interface. But look a bit closer, and distinctions begin to come to light.