Aside from reading such posts, one of my brothers repairs electronics for a living. He has told me a variety of stories about the brands he gets in for repairs, and what he thinks of them. Sometimes, at length, because some things are exceedingly poorly designed. He has warned me about several products over the years. He has never warned me not to buy a Yamaha. I regard his experience as much more significant than my own with ownership, as I have had relatively few products in my possession over the years, whereas he constantly deals with a variety of things, and can see what does, and what does not, come in for repairs.
That sort of thing may make me seem like a Yamaha fanboy, but I really have no brand loyalty at all. The minute I find that Yamaha starts seriously screwing up, that is when I will stop buying and stop recommending their receivers. As I stated above, I have owned (and still own) an Onkyo product (Integra, but that is just expensive Onkyo), and I like it. I will use it until it dies, and given its age and how much it has been used, if it were to die today, I would not complain about it. It has been good. But I have no loyalty to the brand, and do not recommend their products anymore. A brand can change, for good or ill, and so one should be willing to adapt to the changing circumstances rather than stubbornly be loyal to a name. Right now, Yamaha is a great choice for a receiver. What will be a great choice next year, I cannot say, though judging from past experience, I would expect that Yamaha still will be. But it is not a certainty, and ought not be treated as one.
Martin Logan Speakers
Aragon 4004, and Outlaw 7100 amps
Chase 18.1 Sub,and Velodyne DD15
LittleBear tube preamp
Pro-Ject debutte 3 turntable
I can't speak for the NR818 but I purchased the TX-SR606 for about $400 a few years ago and wasn't aware of the issues associated with that model until about two years later when it had issues switching the video. After taking it into the shop (one month before the warranty was up) they found that the issue was with a blown capacitor. I haven't had any problems since then. At the time that I purchased the 606 I was looking for the most bang for my buck. However, that was a relatively inexpensive receiver and I was looking for HDMI (it had 4, which was amazing for that point in time) inputs more than anything. The receiver still works, and I think that it still sounds great!
With that said, I purchased a Marantz SR6007 a few months back and the difference in sound when watching movies was pretty obvious to me (not my significant other, of course...). The Onkyo was louder despite the 90wpc vs 110wpc difference, and seemed to process its sound in a significantly different manner (not too surprising considering that one is Audyssey MultiEQ XT vs 2EQ :/) and would focus most of the sound on the front speakers rather than the vocals as the Marantz does. A lot of the general public who purchase a receiver want LOUD and don't want to do much research. They are also much happier to get all of the bells and whistles that come with an Onkyo versus the other brands. While the longevity of the receiver is questionable; a good deal, bells and whistles, and a tight budget can make an Onkyo receiver a very attractive option. The fact that it might only last 5 years if you're lucky could be worth it if the nearest comparable receiver is twice the price and might last twice as long.. maybe (just being the devil's advocate here). When I was considering purchasing a receiver I very nearly got an NR818 simply because it got such great reviews for movie watching and I could get it for around $600, but I decided to go with the Marantz to try something new that had a pretty solid name behind it despite the lower reviews for movie watching.
All in all, I'm not unhappy with the purchase and still feel like you're gambling no matter what receiver you get. The SR6007 has issues with locking up and requires a microprocessor reset every now and then, which might or might not work (I've had this problem and luckily it did work). As receivers are getting more advanced the number of potential problems are rising and aren't only limited to the hardware side of things. I completely agree that Onkyo has a bad reputation for overheating, HDMI switching, cheap components, etc. but I've never had a problem with their software/firmware like I have with my Marantz (albeit the 606 isn't exactly "techy" lol). The 818 supposedly sounds great (I'd trust Ralph, he's a movie fanatic! :P) and might be worth the gamble if you are primarily watching movies and have a wide open cabinet for it. In the end you might spend 2k and end up with a dud.. It's kind of luck of the draw. No company has ever achieved zero defects, even if it's their mission in life to do so.. You just might be a bit farther from zero with most of Onkyo's products over the past few years than with other brands.
You should expect the Onkyo fanboys to defend Onkyo anyway. They really do not want to face reality.