It's funny that I came across your posting. I am in the middle of an HT build - and was thinking of how I might be able to incorporate my old Rotel RSX-965 into the build! I know it's ridiculous to try to employ a receiver from 1998 into the build - but it sounds great.
The sheer number of AVRs and their deep feature sets is daunting - and with the feature sets of current blu-ray players and media/gaming devices, I am researching what I might be losing - other than room correction - by not immediately buying a current AVR.
In my novice opinion, the Rotel (as old as it is) has a unique warmth that I can't find in a Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha. My thought is that a new Rotel or Arcam would likely provide the same audio experience. A NAD or Anthem receiver would also be good choices.
However, for my needs - none of the aformentioned provide the convenience feature I am looking for: Zone 2 HDMI with independent source control. This requirement limits my options to the Denon AVR-3313ci, Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3020, and the new wallet busting Onkyo offerings. I also need a receiver capable of handling 4ohm loads for the front and center channels.
One option I considered was purchasing an Oppo BDP-103. The Oppo has the capability of two HDMI outputs and two HDMI inputs. So, I could feed blu-ray and set-top box content to a second zone. However, this IS NOT the same functionality as the receivers mentioned above that allow for independent source content to be enjoyed simultaneouly in two seperate zones. The Oppo also boasts video streaming (Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, CinemaNow, Rhapsody, etc.) and 7.1 channel analog output. So, you could use the DB25 5.1 input on your Rotel effectively using it as an amplifier and let the Oppo handle all the decoding, etc.
The Oppo is a steal at $499.00 - but that's also $499 (plus ~$50 for the DB25 to RCA cable) you can allocate to a new AVR if you already own a capable blu-ray player. If you hate the thought of retiring the RSX-965, it's an option. I may go this route to buy some time, enjoy the theater for a while, and wait to see what 2013 brings in the way of new AVR offerings. The competition is incredible and the feature sets and quality at attractive price points gets better every year.
What's your budget? That will help me to give you some models to consider and maybe spur some of the more knowledgeable folks on the forum to help you out.
In the meantime, check out the Anthem MRX line of receivers.
Edited by jlb500 - 1/3/13 at 10:59am