I want to thank you for keeping the first post up-to-date as a very useful reference. As a result, I stumbled upon a product I didn't know existed, the JBL AV2. In my current system, (Synthesis® One Array) I opted for the JBL SDP-5 which is a slightly modded Lexcion MC-8. It's a fine unit, but it fails the test when it comes to 7.1 analog inputs. It can do two 5.1 analog ins, but not 7.1.
It seemed my only step up was to the JBL SDP-40HD (modded MC-12HD), and that's both a lot of money and IMO an expensive interim step. With my recently purchased Oppo BDP-83 upgraded to SE status, I had all the interpretive electronics I needed to get HD audio converted to 7.1 analog output, but no easy solution for getting the 7.1 analog input I needed. At this point, I'm unwilling to pay high prices for interim HDMI audio solutions while the standard is still a moving target, and I certainly don't need a full receiver. As a plus, the AV2's HDMI 1.1 capability will give me something to play with until a really compelling solution with HDMI 1.3a or 1.4 or 1.? or 2.? comes out.
As it turns out, I know a Synthesis® dealer who can procure one for me at an amazing price, and it's on it way for the new year. It's a fine interim solution while the HDMI folks figure out where this is going. Thanks again for keeping the references up to date.