A powerhouse of a home cinema amplifier, the Onkyo TX-SR706 will handle almost any surround-sound format out there (and there are a lot). It will even support THX, the cinema format George Lucas invented for Star Wars.
This means seven speakers and a subwoofer can be driven, giving you a spectacular set-up. It’ll even calibrate itself using the supplied microphone, so you always get decent surround-sound effects.
Music and movies both sound great, and the remote is easy to use, although it might have a few too many buttons for the technophobe. Crucially, the Onkyo also handles high definition brilliantly, and is the perfect complement to an HD projector. Feed it normal TV or a DVD, and it will even “upscale” it to high definition – aligning the picture quality to near HD levels.
There’s also a neat trick that allows the receiver to play music stored on your PC via a network connection. Unfortunately, the on-screen interface is awful, so for the moment you’re best off plugging in an iPod. But for serious home cinema fans on a bit of a budget, this is a great choice.