Onkyo first dropped the news last month that its upcoming TX-NR1030 and TX-NR3030 Network A/V Receivers, as well as its PR-SC5530 Network A/V Controller, would all come equipped with Dolby Atmos capabilities. During the same announcement, Onkyo also hinted that its HT-S7700 and HT-S9700THX Home Theater in a Box systems, as well as its SKS-HT693 and SKH-410 speaker packages, would also be Atmos enabled. Today, the company took to the wires to give a little more information on those HTiB and speaker systems.
The Onkyo HT-S7700 ($899) probably isn’t the right home theater system for you if you’ve got a large media room or if you want to extract every last detail from your Blu-ray movie soundtracks, but if you’ve got a smaller listening space (or want to add another surround sound system in the kids’ room), it sounds like one heck of a bargain. The receiver at the heart of the package boasts WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, HDMI 2.0 connections (for compatibility with high frame rate 4K), HDCP 2.2 copy protection (for compatibility with future video sources), and high-resolution audio playback capabilities. It also comes with a 5.1.2-channel speaker system. And if you’re thinking that looks like too many decimals, let me explain.
You’re undoubtedly familiar with 5.1 and 7.1. That’s shorthand for five (or seven) main speaker channels and a dedicated Low Frequency Effects channel for the subwoofer(s). So what the heck is 5.1.2? The last digit denotes how many height (or “Voice of God”) channels there are in an Atmos system. So 5.1.2 means you’ll have front left, right, and center speakers, plus two surround speakers, plus two overhead speakers. In the case of the HT-S7700, those extra channels are contained within the front left and right speakers, and are designed to bounce off the ceiling. So they’re effectively front height speakers. (Atmos also supports top middle and top rear speakers, as well, although the most height channels I’ve seen supported at once on any of the home-bound gear is four).
By the way, if you’d rather by the speakers from that system separately (in the event that you want to upgrade to one of Onkyo’s higher-end Atmos receivers), you can pick it up in the form of the $499 SKS-HT693 5.1.2-Channel Home Theater Speaker System.
Maybe you don’t need a new speaker system entirely, though, but you still want to take advantage of all the Atmos goodness hitting the market later this year. Onkyo has you covered on that front, too. The company’s new SKH-410 Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speaker System ($249). The SKH-410 system consists of two speakers, and are designed to be installed either on top of your floor-standing tower speakers and fire directly upward, or they can also be installed on the wall.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how, exactly, Atmos will work on a technical level at home. For example, one unknown at this point is exactly how many audio “objects” will be supported (it likely won’t be anywhere near the 128 objects supported in commercial cinemas). But for now, Onkyo has put together a nice information page at DolbyAtmos.OnkyoUSA.com that, when combined with the latest blog post from Dolby, fills in quite a few gaps.
Keep your eyes on both of those pages for more technical information as it becomes available.