Originally Posted by litew8
Cool. Thanks for correcting me.
What is all the talk about "analog" and "zones" then? Is that connected devices only? - giving the internet/network connection an exception to the rule?
The 808 (and other similar Onkyos) doesn't have the capability to convert non-analog inputs like HDMI or optical S/PDIF to analog for the Zone 2/3 outputs. There is no technical limitation per se, just something Onkyo didn't design into their receivers, probably because it would require a duplicate set of decoders in order to provide 5.1/7.1 in the main zone but a proper downmix to 2.0 for Zone2/3.
However, because the Onkyo must do something with the Internet Radio services such as Pandora to play them in the main zone (i.e. convert them to analog for amplification), and those sources are 2-channel, then it will happily route the 2-ch analog audio to the other zones.
That assumes that Internet radio sources are always two-channel. I make that assumption based on the manual stating that the 808 supports 2-channel audio only from Windows Media player, and because I am not familiar with any Internet Radio source that is more than two-channel.
Originally Posted by litew8 Here's something I just found, (it states "stereo", ?):"Playback of Different Audio Sources in Up to Three Rooms Onkyo tx-nr808
With Powered Zone 2, you can enjoy surround sound entertainment in the main room, while playing back a different stereo source in a second zone equipped with a pair of speakers. Alternatively, you can use the Zone 2 and Zone 3 pre-outs to send separate, unamplified audio signals to amplifiers (and speakers) in a second and third room. Naturally, you also have the option of distributing the same audio source to two or three zones simultaneously."
All that is saying is that Zone 2 and 3 are supported for line-level outputs (the RCA analog outs, for whcih you would need a separate amplifier and speakers), which can have different sources from each other and from the main zone, but don't have to be different sources - you can have the same source blasting throughout all three zones. And also that Zone 2 supports an amplified signal (speaker-level outputs) connected directly to a set of speakers (no extra amplifer required). Zone 3 does not have powered speaker-level outputs.
All references are to "stereo" because the signal can only be 2-channel, not 5.1 or 2.1 or 3.1 or anything like that. "Stereo audio" is the technical term for 2-channel audio presented to attempt to re-create a continuous soundstage from left-to-right. Much like stereo
scopic video is 2-channel video (left eye, right eye) that is used to create an image that attempts to re-create the 3-D visual environment.