I'm certainly in the minority here, but I agree with much of what the author has to say. Having recently tried to convince friends and family to buy some of these big, black box AVR's, us on AVSForums are not your typical buyers. Average consumers care about the aesthetics and simplicity electronics they are buying. I live with an interior designer, and our decor efforts are always geared towards hiding the audio components and I agree with her. Why can't AVR's be smaller and more beautiful? Something I didn't have to hid behind closed doors? Consumers have demanded it for all the other products they use. The excuse of function over form is a weak reason. There are plenty of beautiful, functional objects in this world. Even my freakin' refrigerator is nicer to look at than my Onkyo.
1. Make them smaller - Yes!
2. Make them prettier - Double Yes!
3. Get rid of most features - How about this? Get rid of interfaces from the 70s and 80s. Make the less popular features modular. How about a card that I can install?
4. Embrace wireless - This is changing though with manufacturers offering bluetooth and WiFi on higher end devices.
5. Include a true high-definition interface - The SD text hurts my eyes.
6. Make a usable remote - I'm not so fussed here. I'd like more support for a bluetooth remote instead of needing line-of-sight. My PS3 has had this for years.
7. Include speaker cables in the box - Sure, for the average Joe. And make them banana plugs. You'd be pissed off if you bought a cell phone and it didn't come with a charger.
8. Embrace stereo - I think there are plenty of stereo options out there. Author doesn't know the market well enough.
One of my friends put it nicely. "I just spent a pile of money on a beautiful TV, and now, I'm stuck with a big ugly box underneath it." He's right.