Originally Posted by jkust
The reality here is that this is about money. In 2013 it seems improbable that most AVR's can't accomplish what seems like common sense without going the flagship models that are cost prohibitive for many people. It is improbable that you can still buy a new $40,000 boat with a carbureted engine but that is the reality. I've seen some scathing reviews of avr's where the author was clearly new to this and bashing a particular avr because it can't do exactly what we are talking about here.
Yes, it's about money (cost), as I said. Adding $10 of cost (or whatever the number is) to an AVR model for a feature is a big deal. How many people would buy it because of that feature - and how many don't care, and now buy someone else's model because it's cheaper. That's the imperfect argument(s) the manufacturers have to go through - and many times they get it wrong, certainly.
If you want it it's going to be a work around as I have on whole house audio system or it's going to cost you a lot of money. Even when you get to the flagship level you will find there are still some limitations on zone 2 that zone 1 doesn't have depending on the model and brand.
The really simple, cheap solution is to buy a second inexpensive AVR for that zone (but one with all the codecs supported, which is almost all of them today), and split the HDMI signals from the sources. The 2nd AVR can do its own mixdown on the output for the other room.
The reality is that Zone2 usage is fairly rare. The number of consumers with the wiring in place or willingness to retrofit is small. Folks willing to retrofit are likely looking at multiple rooms, which will drive them to WHA solutions instead, anyway. Sonos and others building the wireless streamers with analog inputs are making this more practical, too, as the "requirement" to re-wire the house can be avoided - or at least can be confined to simple fishing/patching within the desired rooms.
Also then, I will mention that as AVR's are starting to go heavy on HDMI's and light on analog inputs and Toslink inputs, they aren't solving this issue that we are discussing. They are running away from legacy connections but forgetting that the zone 2 situation is a real concern.
True, but they're also solving much of the problem for most use cases. With the Internet streaming support built-in, and now supporting Zone2 outputs, a lot of the sources we'd expect to use in secondary audio-only zones is covered with newer models.