Like all the other home theaters in a box systems on our side-by-side comparison chart, the Onkyo HT S8400 is fine system with a slew of great features. Chief among them are its seven speakers and subwoofer that produce high-fidelity surround-sound audio. What set it apart from other systems is its two tower speakers; these tall boys give you a more theatrical experience.
The Onkyo HT S8400's AV receiver is compatible with almost any DVD or Blu-ray player currently on the market. Additionally, you can connect other media devices to the AV receiver such as computers and MP3 players. The unit even has a special Apple connection so you can listen to and watch media stored on your iPod or iPhone through this home theater system. We would like to see this unit come with an integrated Blu-ray player. This would help the entire system be self sufficient without the need to buy a third-party player.
The video-processing capabilities of the Onkyo HT S8400 are standard issue for home theaters in this class. It is perfectly equipped to display HD signals in their full, rich quality. The unit upconverts standard-definition images and signals to a size that takes full advantage of all the pixels available on an HD television or monitor. Furthermore, the system is fully compatible with 3D-enabled televisions and content, so you can watch your Blu-ray Disc of "Avatar" the way James Cameron intended.
The audio signals sent to the speakers and subwoofer by the AV receiver arrive crisp and clear. This home theater system contains a 7.1-channel surround sound speaker system. This means that you can hear even the most advanced sound effects and tones through the home theater speakers. The system comes equipped with the standard center, front and satellite speakers. Setting these up around whatever room you choose is an easy and intuitive experience.
The system's two tower speakers provide an improved sound experience. The tall boys," when placed in the correct configuration, give you a more theater-like experience due to their height and design. These speakers are invaluable tools for experiencing movies the way the filmmakers intended.
This home theater system also has the ability to stream content right from the internet. Therefore, you may not even need the afore-mentioned Blu-ray or DVD player. The AV receiver streams services such as Hulu, YouTube and Pandora to your screen and speakers with remarkable clarity. If you're part of the growing tech population that has shaken off the coil of the silver disc, this is a great feature for you.
Of course, the system has all the traditional connection methods as well. Check out the back panel of the system and you'll find the familiar coaxial, component and composite ports. The system also has multiple HDMI connection options. While these are important, and the system would suffer greatly without them, there is nothing special about these physical connection options.
At the end of the day, if you choose to buy an Onkyo HT S8400, there is very little about it that you won't like. It lacks an integrated player. However, as we mentioned, it works great with the player you already have and streams content from the internet, so its lack of a disc player may not be a factor for you. It's a fine product in crowded field filled with many great options.
Twin tower speakers provide an enhanced cinema-like experience.
While it's compatible with most third-party players, Onkyo doesn't integrate one into the system.
While this is a good product, it comes off as just another face in the crowd.