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Sherwood R-904N NetBoxx Review

Highs

  • Excellent 7.1 surround sound
  • Wired and wireless networking
  • Entertainment from around the world
  • Support for second listening area

Rating

Our Score 7
User Score 0

Lows

  • Front panel has many blinding blue LEDs
  • No love for Mac & Linux
  • $40 fee to stream video via PlayOn
  • Horrible image quality for Netflix, Hulu and other web-based video
  • Possible quality control issues
  • No support for Pandora
Sherwood’s Web-savvy R-904N NetBoxx receiver oozes features, but frustrating snags at every turn keep it from reaching its potential.

Introduction

With all of these Blu-ray players and HDTVs pulling double-duty, it would only make sense that streaming media would trickle down to other components in your mix. Although many might consider a new receiver to be an afterthought, it’s hard not to notice Sherwood’s R-904N NetBoxx. This slick, super receiver delivers decoding for all of the latest and greatest audio formats, while also adding streaming media into its mix of tricks.

Out of the Box

Sherwood might not be the first name you think of when considering a new receiver. It’s probably not even the third name. However, for what they lack in brand recognition and retail displays, they are making up for with features in the NetBoxx.

To look at this unit is to know that Sherwood certainly isn’t messing around. At 17 by 2.88 by 12 inches, this unit is slightly bulkier than a Blu-ray player, but pretty sharp looking in a glossy black (it also comes in white) with sleek, curved edges. Blinding blue LEDs illuminate from the front, highlighting manual controls for power, standby, audio and video inputs, surround sound and stereo modes, and volume. There are also jacks for USB devices, headphones, an auxiliary device, and the included setup microphone.

The back of the unit is a playground for A/V geeks, featuring three HDMI inputs, another USB slot, a network Ethernet connection, and plenty of component, composite, digital audio and optical ports for all of your A/V goodies to join the party – even in different rooms. That’s right; aside from the 7.1 speakers you could be rocking in your main listening area, the R-904N also has two jacks that can play a different source in another area of the house.

Features

If you told us there was a cotton-candy button on the side of the NetBoxx, it wouldn’t be a big surprise. This unit does its best to do it all. First and foremost, though, it’s a receiver. For A/V processing, the company called upon Texas Instruments – three times. The unit includes two 32-bit digital signal processors (DA787 and D788) for audio and the TMS320DM6446 digital media processor for video.

Aside from being the hub for your A/V goodies, the NetBoxx packs in web goodness for an endless source of entertainment. The unit not only snags audio and video from your home computer, but can tap into CinemaNow, YouTube, TV channels, SHOUTcast web radio, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Rhapsody, and other outlets. Oh yeah, it also does FM radio, too

For the web stuff, you can use the Ethernet connection on the back of the NetBoxx. Sherwood was also kind enough to include a USB Wi-Fi adapter for wireless users which is pretty amazing.