The Onkyo HT-S3800/HT-S7800 Home Theater-in-a-Box Systems

An easier way to get that home theater sound experience

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When putting together a home theater, you have the choice between a soundbar system or a home theater receiver with lots of speakers. However, a solution lies in-between that provides a better listening experience than a soundbar without the hassle of a full-on home theater setup: a home-theater-in-a-box like the Onkyo HT-S7800 or Onkyo HT-S3800.

Onkyo discontinued the HT-S3800 model, but you can still find them used. There are also dozens of similar home theater starter kits to consider.

HT-S3800 Onkyo Home Theater System

The HT-S3800 is the base model in Onkyo's home theater-in-a-box product line. The system consists of a 5.1 channel receiver (HT-R395), a five-channel bookshelf speaker system (left, right, center, left surround, right surround), and a passive subwoofer (the receiver powers the subwoofer).

Onkyo HT-S3800 Home Theater-in-a-Box System
Onkyo USA

Power Output

The HTR-395 home theater receiver provided with the system is rated at 60 WPC (measured with two channels driven with eight Ohms speaker loads from 20 Hz to 20 kHz at 0.7% THD). This is enough power for a modest setup in a small or medium-size room.

Make sure you have an understanding of amplifier power output specifications before connecting your audio equipment.

Audio Decoding and Processing

The system is compatible with most Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio (up top 5.1 channels). Additional preset surround processing modes are provided.

Connectivity Features

With several analog audio and video connection options, 4K HDMI inputs and one HDMI output are provided. The HDMI connections are 3D, HDR, and up to 4K pass-through compatible (no upscaling), and they meet HDMI 2.Oa specifications, including support for audio return channel and HDMI-CEC.

The HT-S3800 also provides composite-to-HDMI upconversion for easier connection to modern TVs. No upscaling is provided, and there are no component video connections. Internet and network streaming capabilities are not included. However, built-in Bluetooth is provided, allowing direct wireless streaming from compatible portable devices such as most smartphones.

Speakers and Subwoofer

The center, front-left/right, and surround speakers have the same driver complement (except that the center channel speaker is horizontal). Each has one three-inch full-range driver sealed in a compact cabinet (acoustic suspension) and can either be shelf or wall-mounted.

The provided subwoofer is passive and features a 6-7/16 inch cone driver. The subwoofer also has a front-firing port (bass-reflex design) that provides an extended low-frequency response.

Onkyo HT-S3910 HTIB Front and Rear Views
Onkyo USA


Although the HT-S3800 may still be available, it is being cycled out and replaced by the HT-S3910. Additions include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding, as well as the option to set up the system in a 3.1.2 channel configuration (left, center, right, subwoofer, and two height channels). However, you can also run it in a standard 5.1 channel configuration. Power output has been increased to 80 WPC.

HT-S7800 Onkyo Home Theater

The HT-S3800 (or the HT-S3910) provides all the basics, but you may be looking for something that offers a little more flexibility in both the audio and video departments. Onkyo's HT-S7800 provides that, plus a little more.

Power Output

The home theater receiver included with the HT-S7800 system (HT-R695) provides a higher power-output per channel (100 WPC) using the same measurement standards as the HT-S7800 system.

Audio Decoding, Channels, and Speakers

Another difference is that HT-S7800 is packaged as a 5.1.2 channel system compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding (although DTS:X may require a firmware update). The system includes two front speakers that provide both horizontally and vertically firing drivers and two horizontally firing center and surround channel speakers.

The subwoofer that comes with the HT-S7800 is also larger (10 inches) and is self-powered instead of passive, so it has its own built-in 120-watt amplifier. The receiver provided with the HT-S7800 has two subwoofer outputs, allowing you to connect a second subwoofer if desired.

You can also configure the HT-S7800 as a standard 7.1 channel system by purchasing two additional horizontally firing satellite speakers.

Setup Tools

The system includes Onkyo's AccuEQ automatic room calibration system. Onkyo also provides a microphone that connects to the receiver. The receiver then generates a series of test tones, calculates factors such as speaker size and distance, and adjusts the speakers to match the room's acoustic characteristics better.


The HT-S7800 also ups the number and types of connections offered. For example, there are eight HDMI inputs and two parallel HDMI outputs (both supply the same audio and video signal). There are also two component video inputs (component video input signals are converted to HDMI for output). All HDMI connections meet the same specifications as those provided on the HT-S3800, including video upscaling for both analog and HDMI sources.

Another connection option provided on the HT-S7800 is the inclusion of multi-zone operation via either speaker terminals or preamp outputs (requires the addition of external amplifiers).

Network Connectivity and Streaming

Besides its physical audio and video capabilities, the HT-S7800 also provides Ethernet and Wi-Fi, enabling connection to your local home network and the internet. In addition, the HTS-7800 is Apple AirPlay compatible and can be integrated into the FlareConnect wireless multi-room audio system.

Hi-Res Audio

Another bonus on the HT-S7800 is the inclusion of hi-res audio compatibility. This means that the HT-S7800 can playback hi-res audio files via either USB or local network-connected PCs or media servers.

Control Options

In addition to the front panel and provided remote control, you can also use the Onkyo Controller App for iOS and Android phones.

Onkyo HT-S7800 Dolby Atmos Home Theater-in-a-Box System
Onkyo USA

Onkyo Offers Flexibility

Unlike systems from other manufacturers, such as Bose, LG, Samsung, and Sony, Onkyo's inclusion of standalone home theater receivers means you are not permanently tied to the speakers that come with the system. In addition, the HT-S7800 also allows you to switch to a different subwoofer. Therefore, if you want to upgrade your audio equipment, you don't have to replace the entire system.

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