Originally Posted by SpectralD
I think the best part is that the unit will probably cost considerably less than what we'd be willing to pay. I personally can't imagine paying much more than $500 for a receiver again, given what the panasonic costs now. I am guessing that the next receiver I buy will cost under $400. I mean, correcting for inflation or whatever, since I like the Panny enough that it may be a while...
I don't think $2000-$2500 is out of line for a receiver that's basically the Panny but with the addition of a good EQ (such as the Audessey design) + calibrated mic, more high-end design/construction, finer resolution of level and delay settings, maybe a little power bump, etc. I'd buy such a beast right now if it were out there, even over a $500 unit that had all of the above except for the better design/build quality. I'd just as soon keep the video switching in the box, though, because I don't care enough about video to buy a separate box and running a whole bunch of long wires to the TV is ugly.
However, I think (hope?) that the next logical phase of mass market audio is ironically enough a return to separates of sorts. That is to say, instead of integrating the amps with the switching/decoding, they'll finally go where they belong: in the speakers, preferably at a ratio of 1 amp per drive unit. If they're not already, I suspect that soon enough assembling speakers using TI-type amps with on-chip crossover/EQ/room correction functions will be cheaper than designing, voicing, and building passive good passive crossovers. Hopefully, in the process we'll be able to get rid of proprietary audio cables/connectors in favor of piggybacking on the Airport networks most people already have at home. Polk's started with their IP-addressable class-D amp'ed in-walls, though I don't know if they're wired or Airport.
Then, from my perspective the best part of that revolution is that soon enough after the first wave of commerical stuff comes out somebody's going to start selling those modules as plate amps with a computer program to configure easily configure/calibrate the DSP, and then DIY types will be able to combine whatever drivers they want with the latest-greatest in signal processing. Imagine slapping something like that on the back of an Altec VOTT, Lowther, or Tannoy Gold! Or seven of 'em!
PS: No OSD, or even remote setup of your speakers. You have to twiddle the smaller knob on the unit itself.