Five hundred dollars didn't buy you much in terms of a home theater receiver a few years ago; however today it seems as if five hundred dollars is the new grand as manufacturers are able to pack state-of-the-art features into black boxes for half the cost. Case in point: the Yamaha HTR-6250 reviewed here, which features full 1080p upscaling via its HDMI inputs and support for the latest high resolution surround sound codecs, not to mention iPod compatibility and automated room correction - all for $479.95. Too good to be true? Not exactly, though the HTR-6250 is lacking in some areas, mainly legacy source options and upgradeability that plays a large role in its otherwise meager asking price.
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The HTR-6250 looks much like any current Yamaha receiver out there sans their top-flight offerings. It's black, has numerous hard controls and Yamaha's signature volume pot. If I'm honest it's not a sexy looking receiver by any means, though what it lacks in form it gains in function. For starters it features full 1080p video upscaling via its single HDMI monitor out. The HTR-6250 has four HDMI inputs and is complemented by two component video inputs as well as four composite video inputs. No S-Video here. There is a lack of digital audio inputs round back, four to be exact, two coaxial and two optical. However, I'm sure Yamaha is banking on the average consumer being content with its four HDMI inputs that handle both audio and video signals.
Speaking of audio signals, the HTR-6250 can playback all the latest high resolution audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, as well as all of the older Dolby and DTS audio formats. The HTR-6250 features Yamaha's own Compressed Music Enhancer format, which is good for those who listen to a lot of MP3's and the like via an iPod or portable music player. With regards to portable music devices, the HTR-6250 can accommodate them in a number of different ways: first via its front mounted Aux input, second via Yamaha's own iPod dock (sold separately) and third using Yamaha's Bluetooth receiver (sold separately) which can stream music files through any Bluetooth enabled device. The Compressed Music Enhancer works wonders on lower resolution audio files and really shows that Yamaha isn't viewing the iPod or other portable MP3 devices as a fad but as a legitimate source of music for its consumers. All of the HTR-6250's sound can be tailored to seemingly any environment with the help of Yamaha's YPAO automated room correction EQ. YPAO is Yamaha's take on what Audyssey has been up to for years, though I prefer the YPAO sound over that of an Audyssey set-up any day.
While the HTR-6250's features may not seem all that budget oriented, there are some areas where it's evident Yamaha cut costs. Looking at the back of the HTR-6250, there is a clear lack of inputs and outputs overall, making the back panel seem sparse in comparison to other receivers. For starters you'll find no pre-amp outs - meaning you can't use the HTR-6250 as a processor in the event you want to step up to a separate multi-channel amp for better performance in the future. The binding posts are largely push-pin based minus the left and right mains which get more standard five-way posts, and there is no way to integrate the HTR-6250 into a more complex or complicated system since there is no trigger or RS-232 support. The HTR-6250 is clearly aimed at the general or casual home theater enthusiast just getting their feet wet or for the consumer looking to build a simple office or bedroom system.
Read the High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2