Thanks for all the info - I think I'm going to try to make deftechs work. I measured it out and ear-level puts speaker placement at about 40-42 inches. Currently I have the center at 36", so I'm thinking I could mount the tv a few inches higher, to get to the optimal center speaker height. I'm thinking the RLS II for front LCR, the RSS III for the surround, and either the RSS III (wall) or RCS III (ceiling) for the rears, depending on what I decide during the remodel.
I considered the projector route, but I'm not sure my space would allow for it. I have a 1910 house, and have the ceiling height restrictions in the basement that go along with houses built around that time. In fact, my remodel will be a pretty big challenge in itself, with a large chunk of the budget going toward asbestos abatement and pipe re-routing. Unless I decide to dig. But that's a discussion for a different site, eh? In either case, I'm likely looking at no more than a 6 1/2 ceiling height in the end, which I'm guessing would make projector placement a bit of a challenge. It's something worth exploring though.
As for the AVR, after reviewing the specs, I guess I'll just have to decide of it's worth the extra $160 to go with the 2312 over the 1712. The network options on the 2312 look appealing, but I probably get most of that through my blu-ray. Apple AirPlay sounds "neat", but not sure it's worth the extra $$ for primarily that, and the extra 15 watts per channel. Good to know that the 90-watt 1712 would drive the deftech speakers just fine though.
Thanks again for all the info!!