some good receiver recommendations so far, and I would like to add the onkyo tx-nr809 to the list. yeah it is last years model and all, but amazon has been having it on some amazing clearance sales of late. it can be had for around $425-$475. Not bad for having a msrp originally of $1100. it has just about every bell and whistle you can think of including networking and decent room correction (audyssey mutteq xt), access to music streaming services, a butt-ton of input options, full pre-outs if you ever want to add a separate amp later on etc. At the clearance pricing it is a huge bang-for -your-buck model right now and definitely worth consideration in your price range.
I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!