Unfortunately at 200-250 max price, to get all the "must have's" will be difficult, especially a 5.1 system with network capability. Look at the number of 5.1 models each manufacturer produces... usually just one, and it is essentially a basic no frills model. Once you get to the 7.1 AVR's, then you can start to see the inclusion of various features like network ability, airplay, low THD levels, et all. Remind your friend "you get what you pay for" and a cheap AVR may need to be replaced when it fails.
Don't forget to call for the price! Advertised prices at Electronics Expo, J&R, and many other authorized dealers can be higher than a price you can get if you give them a call. And don't forget AVSF store right here!