A few months ago, Onkyo broke into the realm of height channels with the TX-SR607, the world's first Dolby Pro Logic IIz-equipped A/V receiver (reviewed in the latest issue of Sound & Vision). The 7.2-channel receiver could use Dolby PLIIz to turn its rear surround channels into height channels, mixing audio for speakers mounted above the L/R channel speakers to add a sense of height to the home theater experience.
Onkyo is expanding its PLIIz selection with two new A/V receivers, the HT-RC160 and HT-RC180. They're the debut models in Onkyo's new "HT Series" of receivers, using similar features and aesthetics as the receivers found in Onkyo's all-in-one home theater kits. The RC160 is eerily similar to the SR607, sharing nearly identical specs. Both receivers have Dolby PLIIz, analog-to-HDMI Faroudja upconversion, TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding, and Onkyo's "U-Port" upgrade slot for optional iPod dock or HD Radio accessories. It only has 5 HDMI outputs compared to the SR607's 6, but it also has a slightly lower price of $549.
The RC180 takes a rather significant leap beyond its little brother. The receiver is THX Select2Plus certified, and has a variety of networked media options including Pandora and Rhapsody support built-in. It also has a price tag almost double the RC160, at $1049.
The HT-RC160 is available now, and the HT-RC180 will ship later this month.
— Will Greenwald
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