two weeks ago my now 13 year old surround receiver (Sony STR-DB940) was developing problems with its relays and I summized, that it was just time to move on. Modernize, HDMI, Networking, NAS - cool.
Yesterday I see an ad for a TX-NR515 in the local advertisements of our paper (I live in Germany) at a more than decent price. So I get over to the "Media Markt" store and have a look. A sales clerk is readily available and we look at the specs of the 515 vs. the 616. For 100 Euros more I decide on the 616 - THX certification and 165 Watts per channel (these advertised values are usually way beyond what's actually coming out of the unit).
I arrive home and unpack the unit. Where's the manual? There is none. Checked the web, 100 pages ready for download and print. Excuse me? This is not really a self-explanatory gadget where documentation is "optional". This sucks. Bigtime.
So, I swap out receivers, disconnect 3 of my 4 HDMI inputs from the 55 incher LG along with the optical output (yes it does have ARC) and rewire the back of my furnishings. Everything's tucked away now - nice and neat - time to start the new toy. Switched on, it brags with its smarts and wants to set itself up. Great! It finds my satellite receiver, my Bluray player, and my little XOTAC Windows 7 / XBMC system.
Latter is the bar for my picture quality assessment, so this is where I start. Well I do not, 'cause about 3/4 off the way through the setup process the system wants to update its firmware. O.K. - go ahead. Download goes quick enough, the update itself is right around 45 minutes (forty-five!) Find the responsible engineer and can him. Really. This is unbearable. "Completed" - it says in the display - screen dark. So I turn it off and back on, only to find that ALL settings are lost - I start from scratch. Better yet, a few screens later, I'm supposed to do another update. "Not now" is the answer here - I move on.
Ahhhh, a picture of my Windows 7 screen.
But it looks odd. Really odd. I start my XBMC media server and fire up my Bluray version of Battleship (2012). What a sorry sight. Washed out colors, breakups in motion, overexposed whites and overall way too dark. Great detail loss - no, that's not what I bargained for.
Before some folks get on the bandwagon again with "...just leave your HDMI hooked up directly" - button it. I replaced 13-year-old technology with a unit featuring 8 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs for a number of reasons. Less cabling is one of those reasons. So I swapped HDMI cables (all cables are very high quality cables) - to no avail. Toyed with every setting on the receiver and TV side. Nothing. Bypassed the receiver - picture perfect.
And now: The return of the "Update please" message. But now it will not react to any buttons of the remote, I cannot get into the setup. Power off, power on - same difference. Cut the power completely, power up - still screwed.
At this point I have reached my level of self abuse and I stop this madness.
The unit is all packed up again and it's going back to the store tomorrow. After reading many of the reviews here, I am certain, that this is not a fluke. These Onkyo receivers are J-U-N-K. Do not get one. Don't even go near one. After this experience - you could not give me one of those for free. Am I mad? Yes. 5 hours of my personal time WASTED.
Before I fell for the lure of the low price, I was looking at a Marantz 5007 and Denon alternatives. So be it.