Originally Posted by Phrynichus
Can anyone speak to this issue in greater detail? I am swinging between the Onkyos and Denons this autumn. So, how likely are firmware updates to receivers? Has this already happened with any extant receivers, and if so, what was added/fixed? Also, doesn't the Onkyo 905 have ethernet connectivity?
Firmware is the software that is controlling how the receiver operates, there is a dedicated computer inside. It is common for newly released software to have bugs in it (Vista
for example) With a PC, you can download updates and service packs to fix those bugs.
With other devices that contain dedicated computers (most AV equipment these days), these updates can be run from several sources, depending on the capability of the device. An ethernet port is one way to do it, also a serial port connected to a PC, or a disk (CD DVD) can contain the firmware updates. An example of this would be Toshiba HD DVD players, they can be updated with either a CD / DVD or the ethernet port.
The bottom line is, unless the firmware is bullet-proof, and has been debugged extensively, updates will probably be needed. If the device has no easy way to do this, your're stuck with those bugs.
Beyond this, new features and capabilities can be added, like a new version of any software, provided the hardware is capable.