onkyo_hs_s7200b

Anyone in the market for a one-stop solution to great home theater, optimized for both music and movies need look no further. The Onkyo HT-S7200 is the latest from the company that’s praised continually for the quality of their home theater-in-a-box systems. Combining two separately sold components capable of solid performance into one convenient set means a win for consumers.

Part one, and the brains of the operation, is the HT-RC160 receiver. Sporting 5 HDMI inputs, analog upconversion to 1080i, a text-based on-screen display, and on-board decoding of high resolution audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD + DTS-HD master audio, this component-grade device has all the modern basic features any basic to average home theater consumer could need. Part 2 of the package consists of the SKS-HT870 7.1 speaker set, which includes a pair of full-sized tower speakers and Onkyo’s proprietary UP-A1 iPod dock. While this set’s rather bulky size and black wood finish may not fit all interior tastes, its performance is definitely touted as being above and beyond smaller “lifestyle” focused HTIB speakers and, in our opinion, that’s worth any styling trade off.

Don’t let any previous bias against home theaters-in-a-box blind you. Though we’ve as yet been unable to put the system through its paces Gear Patrol style, based on our experience with similar Onkyo products, we’re confident that you’ll be hard pressed to compile any other brand new budget home theater system to best the Onkyo HT-S7200 in performance or features for the same price. This is especially true for those who already own a PS3 or Blu-ray player. Check out CNET’s take here though, if you’re still experiencing doubts and want to learn more.

Cost: $686