So I rearranged my living room over the past weekend and decided to retire my (gasp) 9-year-old receiver. Wasn't looking to spend a fortune, but surround sound is a must, Internet access is a plus. Ended up going with The Wirecutter's recommendation of the Onkyo TX-NR509. It's got a rear Ethernet port (if that's how you roll), or an optional Wifi dongle that plugs into the front USB port -- and an added bonus -- a companion Android application.
Let's really start off by saying that home audio is a pretty personal and finicky thing, and your setup will determine the usefulness of features. I've got an Xbox 360 and a Logitech Revue to handle most of my multimedia functions, so there's a good bit of what's the in Onkyo app -- specifically the music playback -- that I'll never use. You've pretty much got full remote capability, including switching inputs and sources. The app's layout's pretty intuitive, as are the settings. I'm not going to walk you through them as, again, your setup will vary from mine, and chances are you're a proper nerd and can do it yourself.
(I'll mention that the Onkyo has things like Internet radio and DLNA streaming, which is nice, but the on-screen UIs are so horrid that you'll likely not want to touch them.)
No, the one shining feature of the Onkyo Android app -- for me, anyway -- is the ability to change the volume from another room. I've got kids. Two of 'em. The eldest is 5, and she can rock the Logitech Harmony One remote just fine to get her Dora on. But she's also going deaf, I'm convinced, because the TV will get louder and louder as she watches. Thanks to the Onkyo app, there's no more getting up from what I'm doing. No more arguing. I just turn the damn thing down, and no one's the wiser. (I can do the same thing with the Google TV Remote app, by the way.)
So that's what I'm rocking in the living room now, all connected like. (And it sounds good, too.) Onkyo says the app's compatible with all network AV receivers released since 2010, as well as the TX-8050 Network Stereo Receiver and the T-4070 Network Stereo Tuner. You may need to do a firmware update (mine took about 5 minutes) to get things going.
We've got screen shots and download links after the break.
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