I just picked up my SC-55 on Thursday (replacing a dinosaur - the VSX-26TX) and the sound quality is amazing. I ran into a few snags though:
With my old system I had HDMI-CEC enabled, and when I connected the components to the new receiver and the HDMI output to the TV, every time I turned on the blu-ray player or another component, the TV would switch to the input the device was last connected to (when connected directly to the television). Soo, I had to go back and turn off HDMI-CEC ("AnyNet" in Samsung nomanclature) since the SC-55 was passing the codes right on through to the set. Why the TV was remembering the old inputs rather than being intelligent enough to detect the commands coming in through HDMI1, I have no idea.
Also, setting up was a bit of a pain in the neck - not the MCACC which was easy, then I tweaked the center channel (I'm replacing all my speakers with Klipsch - the JBL speakers were horribly dull but I don't have my klipsch center channel yet) to boost the highs a lot
to come as close as possible to matching the front mains, using pink noise and an RTA. Time consuming, but easy enough.
The problems came in when setting up internet radio. I have it networked just fine; I elected to go hardwired since I already have a router on the stand as a wifi client for other components. Simple enough. I can connect using the AVNavigator and through iControlAV, so I know network connectivity is fine.
Here comes the problem: I tried setting up Rhapsody. I created a new Rhapsody account tonight, selected a long secure password and then went to configure the SC-55 to sign into my newly-created Rhapsody account. Here comes the first problem: I have to scroll through all the characters rather than select then from a grid. WTF? Don't Pioneer's software engineers know anything about human factors? So, I scroll through and go through the extremely tedious process of entering my username (email addy) and long secure password. "Invalid username or password." Okay, so I go back, and of course it doesn't retain what I entered, so I do it all over again, and double and triple check what I entered (it takes a good 7 minutes to enter the password via this stupid method) and it failed again. Next, I sign out of Rhapsody on my notebook, and sign in again to verify my password was correct. Check. I then went back into rhapsody account setup on the receiver and decided to try connecting a USB keyboard to save some time, and hopefully type the password in 2.5 minutes rather than 7 minutes. Sure enough the keyboard was recognized, but - get this - only the cursor keys are supported! You still have to scroll through the characters. What the F@&#?
So, I go through the tedium of entering the password yet again (what's the definition of insanity?) and same error. So, i change my password to a shorter, simpler password that takes only two minutes to enter. Same problem. So, I turn off the receiver and turn it back on and try again - same error (invalid username or password). I tried the Internet Radio stations and they work flawlessly. Streaming from Windows over DLNA works flawlessly (well, as flawlessly as Windows does anything
I checked for firmware upgrades - there are none. So, there are three (make that four)
1. Rhapsody's network is down (but I can connect from the same internet connection using my laptop)
2. One or more hops between the receiver and my connection are down (nope; see above. I can connect on the same internet connection using my PC)
3. Pioneer shipped this model without testing it (DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!)4. I have to wait a while before connecting the receiver to the service (unlikely)
After wasting over two hours trying to get this to connect to Rhapsody I am absolutely positive of three things:
1. Pioneer software engineers are geeks who know nothing of human factors (usability) and design product for geeks, not for real people.
2. Pioneer released this receiver without fully testing the feature set
3. I want to throttle the engineer who implemented keyboard support but decided to support ONLY the cursor keys. WTF?