Onkyo Envision Theater Combines DVD/CD and 5.1 Surround

Space constraints are among the biggest obstacles retailers encounter when selling home entertainment systems. Many people object to the proliferation of equipment needed to play several different formats of video and audio recordings.

Onkyo has introduced an elegant solution for such folk. The Envision Theater combines a high performance DVD/CD player with a 5.1 channel surround sound speaker system. All movie fans need to do is to hook it up to a television set, monitor, or projector. The Envision DVD Receiver (model DR-S2.0) replaces as many as four separate components.

The player/receiver can play DVDs, CDs, CD-Rs, and Video CDs. A full array of video and audio inputs are provided for external sources such as satellite decoders or tape decks; outputs feed other devices such as VCRs. Surround sound options include Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic. A high-sensitivity AM/FM tuner provides excellent radio reception. The unit's five-channel, 30-watt per channel power amplifier section drives a six-piece speaker system: a 50-watt powered subwoofer and five low-profile wall-mountable satellite speakers. The magnetically shielded speakers are said to "provide a solid three-dimensional sound field, while remaining visually unobtrusive."

Onkyo has made every effort to insure that the Envision Theater is user-friendly. The DR-S2.0 turns on with a touch of the disc open/close button, and automatically detects whether the disc is a CD or a DVD, whether it is DTS, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, or PCM encoded, and then chooses the optimum playback mode. A Smart Configuration feature makes calibrating the sound system a breeze. Simply enter the distance from your listening spot to each of the various speakers; and it will automatically set the proper levels and time-delays for each speaker.

The system's digital signal processor has five listening modes for different types of music and theater. For those with limited space, the Theater-Dimensional mode provides simulated surround sound using as few as two speakers. Onkyo seems to have thought of everything with the Envision Theater, including the price. The entire system retails for $1195.