dealssherwood netboxx 7.1-channel internet a/v…

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engadget doesn't have amazing things to say about the streaming from Netflix and the like, but seems to be a decent audio experience: http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/17/sherwoods-internet-streaming-r-904n-netboxx-receiver-review/

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Not sure if this item would be something I could use, but I've never been disappointed by the Sherwood audio equipment I've had in the past.

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I have a Logitech Revue (I know, I know...but I did get it for cheap) hooked up between my cable box and my mid-range Onkyo receiver. I can't see how this device adds anything to my set up. The Revue as well as any HTPC/basic laptop can stream the same internet channels.

Also not so sure about adding additional duties on my receiver as that means over time I will have either outdated features or duplication. Separate AV equipment is "best" as you can swap out just what you need, a little integration is helpful (hence my Onkyo) but too much can be a waste of money.

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Seems like the general consensus around the web is it's a pretty good 7.1 system with a pretty bad wired/wireless media player integrated into the unit.

FWIW, the price seems decent. $349 over at amazon appears to be the next best price from a reputable dealer.

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Great price here on Woot but I saw the engadget review and agree, they really had a hard time praising it. Main compaint was the quality of the streaming and also required a separate computer to either setup or host the streaming server software. (Read the review). However, it is all in one and if you need to save space this will do it.

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Been thinking about stepping up to a 7.1 w/ HD sound. I have an old Sony5.1 and it doesn't really handle multi HDMI correctly. My windows PC has video card w/ HDMI and the integrated sound card built into the video card.

So far, any receiver I've seen that does 7.1 w/ HD sound costs upwards from $350. So this looks good to me, just as a Home Theater receiver/amp.

I'm just confused as to this concept of "streamer". If I subscribe to Netflix, and choose to stream an HD movie, doesn't my PC buffer the content, and deliver at full HD resolution? Will this thing dumb that down and compress further when viewing/listening over the HDMI connection?

This looks like a great deal just for the 3 HDMI inputs, HD audio, 7.1, AND lets not forget multi-room from multi sources. Am I missing something?

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Reality check:

With its 120W power consumption and 10 lb weight, the realistic power output with all 7 channels driven is going to be something like 10-15 watts per channel. Even if it were 100% efficient (and no amp is), the best it could do is 17 watts. That may be sufficient for efficient speakers in a small room, but even then you're not going to be able to listen at any really high volume levels unless you're using a subwoofer crossover frequency of 150 hz or higher. In my opinion you'd be better off with a standard 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 receiver with a WD TV Live (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=330) attached.

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By the way, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sherwood name:

Through the 1970s they were a brand to be reckoned with and made high-quality equipment (I believe their manufacturing even took place in the US then). Sometime in the 1980s they kind of lost their way and quality of their product line went way down. In the late 90s they came our with their Newcastle line (of which this receiver is NOT part), which was a huge advance in quality; however, they don't appear to have updated the Newcastle product line in some time (HDMI 1.3 only, and their separates don't have any HDMI at all).

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Boxee Box streams video with surround sound audio too for about $150. I like the Boxee very much.

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I was interested until reading here. I already have a 7.1 system, and this is not powerful enough for my 27x15 living room, and the specific mention of that garbage PlayOn software is a HUGE turn-off. That alone sets off warning bells.

I'll stick with my dedicated media server and Plex.

I remember Sherwood back in the 70's, all of the long-haired parents had to have a Sherwood receiver.

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802.11G....G people. Enough said.

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If I can't figure out what it is I probably don't need it.

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Do yourself a favor and get a HiMedia HD900B instead.

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I'll stick with my WDTV Live (the new model that just came out in Oct.) It streams, has 802.11N, does network shares, and plays just about every format you throw at it.

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You can find great quality decent powered mid-level av receivers in the $300 range. High-mid level refurbs on Tiger Direct and other sites like Macmall are still in the $300 range. With multiple HDMI ports and 3-D pass through (I haven't gone 3-d yet, but I figure someday, maybe, and I'll be ready).

I'm talking Denon (sound), Onkyo (video), Yamaha (blend of both). That (based on preference), coupled with a Roku or Google device and you're set.

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One more x in the name and I'd be all over this one. As it stands, forget it.

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Okay people, $249 for this or you could buy one of every model streaming player that Roku makes for less than this. Go to roku.com and look at the reviews. Or go to any site that rates streaming boxes and you'll see that Roku is the best value with just about every service you've heard of supported. prices start at $49 for 720p with other models offering 1080p, USB port, and all are 802.11n wireless. The top end model even has a motion sensitive remote with Angry Birds bundled in. I have one on each of my televisions and it is the only internet TV solution that my family has been happy with. We tried others because the Roku seemed so small and inexpensive that I was skeptical it could work well, but nothing else has been as simple to use or consistent with video quality as the Roku.

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@fcray: Amen! Roku is probably in the top three of my best investments.

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@scipunk: Last time I checked, Netflix does not allow buffering. It chooses a quality based on your internet connection, and will adjust the quality mid-movie if your bandwidth increases or decreases.

vote-for5vote-against

You can get a nice refurb Harman Kardon 7.1 receiver on eBay and a roku for less and have a nice setup.
Also, with sites like Pandora, Netflix etc out there - who really needs to stream from their own media system? You can listen and watch just about anything through their system and have a lot more variety, save buying your own media etc.
Plus, if you have your own media, CDs, DVDs etc you want to listen/watch- it is going to sound/look it's best using the disc itself connected directly to the receiver. The more devices, servers, network etc that the data passes through, you are going to degrade the quality.

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Okay, I'm a little biased here because when I think of "Sherwood," I think of those Kmart stereos they used to sell.

However, this device does look convenient for people like my parent who don't want to deal with a thousand remotes or input switching on the TV. I gave them a Logitech Harmony remote, but sometimes it won't change the input on the TV so they call me and ask how to do it.

But I have serious doubts about this because of the brand and because of the shady/sly way they state the power. I mean, 700 watts? I'm not an idiot here. What is the real power output of this device? I've never seen anything stated like: 110W x 7 (1kHz, THD 1% @ 6Ω / Only Channel). What does that mean? I assume that since it's 100/channel in stereo, but higher weird-rating in 7.1 that what it's saying is that the power supply can't actually push 100 watts/channel (unless it's ONE channel on its own). I'm guessing that it's closer to 40 watts per channel in actual usage.

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@fcray: This isn't the same thing as a Roku, though. It's a receiver that, basically, has a Roku built in (no, not actually by Roku). It has multiple inputs (e.g. multiple optical, coax, analog, HDMI) and speaker outputs. This would be a decent thing (I mean, if it's not junk) for someone who is just putting together a modest home theater.

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@stevieboy628p: Um, what's wrong with G? The PS3 only supports G and I stream HD, 5.1 content from Netflix just fine. If you have an internet connection that is going to be throttled by 54mb/s, then I'm really, really jealous.

Are you thinking of b (10mb/s)?

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regards the reality check on audio power out. More and more units are coming with class D output stages which will allow fairly hefty power from a small unit. Also remember that audio, well maybe not heavy metal rock, has a fairly low duty cycle/average power. But as old tech I worked with used to say you can't miniaturize the watt, although class D comes close. So 20 -40 W per channel is probably a good estimate, certainly not all channels driven to full power at the same time.

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If you take the input power (120W) into account, there's no way that the system can output more than about 15 W/channel, into all channels simultaneously, as I mentioned above.

As regards required audio power, you're correct when you're talking about music, but this is a home theater receiver, and as such will be expected to reproduce sound effects, some of which require a LOT of power.

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@glendower: 802.11g has a theoretical throughput of 54mb/s, but in reality it gets nowhere close to that. In ideal conditions, you'll get around 25mb/s and most people don't have ideal conditions, since there's quite a bit of interference on the 2.4GHz band. And, most high-speed internet providers in the US offer premium connections of 30mb/s or more now (Yay, our premium offerings almost match the standard offerings in most other industrialized countries!), so it's not uncommon for people to have connections that are limited by g wireless.

All that being said, you're absolutely correct that g is perfectly capable of streaming HD video without problems.

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Does anyone know if the HDMI inputs on this support audio processing, or is it pass-thru only?

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I don't know about all the technical mumbo jumbo, but dose this thing offer a remote? Because if I have to get out of my seat to navigate this thing I may as well contine to stream through my laptop? Am I missing somthing here?

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Try streaming 12GB 1080p mkv files to your ps3 over wireless. Or movies worth Cinavia protection.

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Woot had a Pioneer receiver with AirPlay and it played Pandora for less $$$.

Onkyo has similar models for around $300.

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I came across this deal for a Sony STR-DN2010 7.1 channel A/V receiver:
http://www.electronics-expo.com/sony-str-dn2010-av-network-receiver-7-1-channel
The price is $198 plus $29.99 shipping for me.
This is wired but also has a four-port hub built in and it has 4 HDMI inputs that handle 3D.

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For my previous comment, the total from Electronics Expo was $227.99. If purchased from Amazon, the price is $259.60 and is from Electronics Expo, fulfilled by Amazon.

I know it does not have the streaming built-in, but as others have pointed out, I would use a different device to handle that duty.

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More on power...

Multi-channel amps don't put out full power with all channels driven simultaneously. It's just the nature of the beast, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The 120W consumption is continuous power @ 60Hz, whereas the 100W output is instantaneous power @ 1kHz. Since this is a Class D amp, the specs are perfectly reasonable. I especially like that it won't heat an entire house, unlike my Denon 4310.

I grabbed one to play around with (I just installed a solar PV system and suddenly looking for ways to conserve power). If it works well enough, I'll probably sell my Denon.

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Folks, this doesn't appear to have ANY streaming services built in. It says "Supports PlayOn to stream etc. from a local network" which means you need to purchase PlayOn and run it on a computer which then feeds everything PlayOn supports to this device over DLNA.

Basically, don't buy it because of the (non-existent) streaming services. PlayOn is fine, great even considering how well they keep up with the content providers, but the Netflix experience is less than ideal compared with the actual Netflix HTML5 "app" available on real media streamers like WDTV's and Roku boxen.

I can't speak to all the other features for the price, though.

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@jcleary47: That's a good point, but only would matter in certain situations.

First, the file size doesn't directly have any bearing on how well it streams, and the container doesn't have much (Some containers don't really support streaming, but MKV does).

What really matters is the type of compression and bitrate used. Most MKV files have h.264/x.264 video streams and DD5.1 audio streams. Assuming it's a 2 hour movie, that 12GB file is probably encoded somewhere around 14mbps. If the server that's serving the video is hard-wired, that should stream without problems to a client connected using wireless g. However, if the server is also using the wireless, then your effective bandwidth requirement would be about 28mbps, which no, would not work well over wireless g.

So yes, if your video server is also using the wireless, and you have high-bitrate videos that you're streaming from it, having wireless n would be advantageous.

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For not much more you could get a Pioneer AVR featuring 7.1 surround and which actually outputs the stated power. Leave streaming to Boxee, Apple TV, or Roku since the streaming quality is much better and they are far more likely to be supported with software updates.

This Sherwood is a bad deal, /especially/ for the price. For not much more you can get a real AVR.

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Ohhhh interesting about the PlayOn requirement for streaming services. That's bogus. Is that a for pay product now? I looked at it long ago and it was free, but I think that was in a pre v. 1.0 stage. Never used it, anyway.

For all of the apparent defending of the unit that I've done, I really raise an eyebrow when I see the name "Sherwood;" not exactly one that I equate with quality, but you never know.

Back to the power issue-- I still am calling big bogus on 700 watts. That's partly because I'm used to using separates, which tend to be closer to a true power rating (example-- I went from a "235wpc" Sony receiver to a "75wpc" Yamaha and the yamaha was noticeably louder. Then I added some 80wpc separate amps to the yamaha and had to do some major adjustment to keep the separate-driven channels from blowing away the receiver-driven. While not as bad as contrast ratios listed on TVs and monitors, the wpc listed on receivers skates very close to the edge of meaninglessness. :)

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This receiver has VuNow streaming technology built in. PlayOn is not "required" for streaming, according to the instructions:
http://www.sherwoodamerica.com/site/service/manual/R-904N_ENG_Manual.pdf

Again, the power criticisms are largely unwarranted, at least considering everyone else is using the same fuzzy math. The Pioneer SC-57 puts out 1260W (140X x 9 ch) yet only consumes 370W. Does that mean it's really a 40W/ch amplifier? It won't match the power of nine separate amplifiers, obviously, but receivers aren't designed to.

Think about it this way: Instantaneous power is what lets you hold an impact wrench in your hand while applying 750 ft-lbs of torque to a lug nut.

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@suprgenius: I hope you give us a review! I do think it sounds like a cool machine.

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Sherwood is hit or miss when it comes to receivers. They are either underpowered or sound really good. Sherwood also actually builds some of the hardware for some of the Denon receivers that receive much praise.

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Have to say, I've had a Roku for about a year now & cannot imagine spending this amount of money for the same use. I think the Roku base model is around $50, and top tier model around $100. What could possibly make this thing worth the money?

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Can this receiver output 3D contents from your computer onto the 3D tv?

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For those who answered and those who asked about about the power output...

The "rated" power consumption in the back of receivers/power amps is not a good way to tell how much power it is actually pulling. I went and bought something called a Kill A Watt which is an AC measuring tool that can measure line voltage, hertz, power draw in watts and amps. My whole computer setup is drawing 124 watts right now as I type. I had a Technics SU-V8X integrated amplifier that has a power consumption listed at 650 watts, however it was pulling over 850 watts at peak. I used to have a Technics SA-DA10 which has a rating of 310 watts but it was pulling well over 500 watt at peak. I was using them for subwoofer duty.

CONTINUED

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...CONTINUED

Most of these tiny receivers uses class D for their amplifier section so they should be quite efficient, probably at least 65% efficiency(but they're usually around 70~80%). I wouldn't be surprised if it can do 110 watts RMS into 2 channels but definitely not into all 7 channels, maybe like 25~50 watts RMS. The listed power consumption does not directly translate into actual output power. My Technics are beasts and I don't ever expect this receiver to burst into The Hulk when you play it really loud but it should have enough to drive a speaker system that has a fairly low sensitivity rating of 89dB to at least 100 dB cleanly in a medium-sized room.

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This receiver, audio-wise(not too sure about the internet side) it should be good enough for those who are looking to have a good time watching movies and live broadcasts. If you want to feel the Godzilla footsteps in your spine and have bullets hit your face then this receiver is definitely not for you.

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@lilystang: The Roku can't drive speakers. That's like asking why you would buy an Iphone when it can't stream as well as a Roku.

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@suprgenius: Read it again. The only thing VuNow can do by itself is Youtube. For all other services it "requires" PlayOn to be installed on a computer on your network and, again, PlayOn is not free.

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@phertiker: Hmmm, actually, that manual is a weird read isn't it? Engadget (and every other reviewer) says in their review that you are required to use the PlayOn "server" software installed on a PC. The manual specifically states that the VuNow "Pod" doesn't require software installed on your PC, but then also says that it supports premium channels such as PlayOn.

So, you know. Who the hell knows?

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PlayOn isn't THAT bad, but that said, I see no reason to buy this. Get yourself a Roku 2 and an entry level receiver from a decent brand (Onkyo, Denon, Pioneer, Sony, or Yamaha) and you come out around $300 ($200 for receiver on sale, $100 for top of the line Roku 2) and you have a better receiver and a better streamer. You can even pick up a Sony that supports 7.1 for $199 if you are willing to wait for sales.