I bought a new receiver, a Sony STR-DG800. It’s got 7.1 audio (as opposed to my old 5.1, not that much out there takes advantage of that, or even 6.1), and it’s XM capable (not sure I’d use that). I think the main problem with my old receiver is the senter channel on 5.1 is losing it (dropping in and out), and with the amount of TV I watch that broadcasts in 5.1, it was starting to really annoy me. I could have bought any number of receivers, but wanted a fairly cheap one with HDMI connectors – I had to buy a special HDMI connector since I’ve got two outs (cable and DVD) and only one in on my TV. The Sony was cheap, and had decent reviews. The last time I bought a receiver was 1998, and I went with a Sony because everything else I had was a Sony. That receiver was good to me for a long time.
Fuuny thing was reading on the forums about the DG800. Lots of people complaining that the HDMI connection was only a passthrough and you couldn’t get 5.1 sound from your DVD player through the HDMI. Turns out that’s only in the HDMI 1.2a specs, which is implemented only in very high end receivers. But people were bashing Sony nonstop until someone pointed this out. The workaround is using digital optical, which I’m fine with because that’s what I do now. I’m not sure if any receiver you could currently buy would be future-proofed, so I’m not even going to try. And I’m not convinced I want or need 7.1 speakers either, may try it with other speakers I have to get a feel for it sometime.
I went to set it up after I got home tonight. Went pretty painlessly, but as I got up, I was thinking “pretty quick – was that 30 minutes, maybe 40?” Nope, 90 minutes. Oops – made some shrimp scampi in a jiff as it was past 10. Looks like we’ll both be up late tonight.