No preferences. Too many happy owners of all brands. (disclaimer: onkyo user, but i do use many brands).
almost anything new, at least above bottom of the line, will handle audio codecs. However, you don't even need that with the PS3 that outputs as m-ch pcm, with audio no longer being a packed codec.
Onkyo has some issues with component conversion, unless you are using Reon (and even some videophiles will surely criticize). not sure which do it better, but surely always dependent on actual model.
then again, you can always run the component conn directly to display. outside of VP, you lose nothing except possibly the convenience of not hitting one more remote button. you might gain, otoh, more calibration flexibility per source input.
WT#% is your budget?