I am SUPER excited for dolby atmos!
in honesty, I'm still running 5.1. 7.1 wasn't worth the hassle in my room, and I don't have the space for front wides either, so a 9.1 wasn't gonna happen anyway. but that's NOT the point of atmos.
atmos isn't about having more channels. it's a totally different method of conveying audio, and THAT'S what I'm excited about. you have 5 speakers? fine, atmos will make the most of it. you have 15 speakers, great, atmos will work with that too!
I love that it's so easy to implement and even easier to upgrade. the BD's you buy today with your 5.1 system won't need to be rebought in 6yrs when you want to get the most out of your 9.2 system. as a format, it's awesome!
I've been putting off buying a new avr for awhile, and now I know why. I was waiting for atmos!
now I don't know how much I'm going to see any improvement without adding speakers, but that's ok. because I know that I CAN add speakers whenever I want and everything will still work awesome.
as for the up-firing speakers, I'm not sure why you'd doubt their abilities. I'm certain they will work as advertised. BUT, not in room that have sound treatments on the ceiling. but then I suspect that ppl who love audio enough to do that can install ceiling speakers like they should. the up-firing models will be reserved for the ppl that want simplicity, or live in places that won't allow you to do anything to the walls/ceiling.
either way, I don't see ANY downside to atmos. at worst, it's as good as the best dedicated channel recording. and it shouldn't take much to get more out of it than what we have now.
Displays: Samsung PN64F8500/JVC X35
AVR: Pioneer VSX-1018AH, 5.1 audio
Sources: HTPC(Mediabrowser), PS3, XBOX360, Wii, Sony DVP-CX995V
Control: Harmony One