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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for some advice in setting up my first home theater. Looking for a good 5.1 receiver around $250. Its very unlikely that I will upgrade to 7 speakers anytime soon, hence would not want to spend extra for a 7.1 receiver.


Heres what I have:

Polk RM6750 5.1 speaker set

Panasonic Plasma THPZ77U (with 2 HDMI, 3 component inputs, 3 composite inputs).

ATT U-verse Motorola set-top box

JVC SD-DVD player (planning to upgrade to Blu-ray sometime)

a living room ~ 15X25 ft


Here are the receivers I've found in my range so far:


(all brand new)

Onkyo SR 576 ($303 at amazon)

Onkyo SR 506 ($209 at amazon)

Onkyo SR 304 ($149 at amazon/frys)

Yamaha RX-V463 ($299 at amazon)

Yamaha RX-V363 ($199 at amazon)

Yamaha HTR-6130 ($170 at amazon)


I really like the features of the SR606, but at $350, it goes beyond my range.


My questions are:


1) I'm willing to connect all my video sources straight to my TV and connect audio separately to the receiver using optical. Given this, what will be the significance of video features like upconversion etc in my receiver? Should I ignore these completely?


2) Should I be concerned that my receiver doesnt process audio via HDMI? With 5.1 speakers, is there any kind of "HD audio" feature that I will miss out if I use optical connection from player to receiver? In other words, does an HDMI connection give me some advantage in hearing HD audio given the fact that I only have 5 speakers?


3) Whats the miminum "wattage" I should look for in a receiver for my room size and my speakers?


4) Which one in my list (Or any other not in it) would you recommend that has the best features?


Thanks.
 

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Add the Denon 589 to your list. It has Audessey with Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ. Same level of Audessey processing as their $1200 units.


The 589 also has two optical and two coaxial digital ins, I think you'll find most other receivers in this price range only have 3 digital ins.


1) Ignore.


2) I don't know.


3) 50 watts per channel should be plenty adequate. And strong enough to blow those little speakers if you get too aggressive with the volume knob. (Denon has a "maximum volume" setting to keep from hurting yourself or your speakers.)


4) Denon 589.


- Jasen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!


Does anyone know answer to my question #2? i.e. if using a 5.1 speaker setup and playing TrueHD bitstream from a blu-ray player will sound any different if my player-receiver are connected using optical v/s HDMI? In other words, should I really spend on a receiver that processes HDMI audio if I'm only using 5.1 speakers connected via optical?
 

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Optical does not allow for lossless audio unlike HDMI. Whether there's a big difference between lossy and lossless is debatable. If you look at the stickied AVR FAQ, there's a discussion on the topic including a link to an article claiming the differences are small.
 

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The Pioneer 918 and Yamaha 463 are good picks. They will accept PCM over HDMI, but don't have the HD decoders built in which means you have to upgrade to a better bluray player. IMO, the money is better spent to get a receiver with the decoders.
 

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I just got the Onkyo SR-304 refurbed from the Accessories4Less for 136.99 including shipping and a 3 yr warranty. I have been very pleased with it. I am using it for PC speakers as well as hooked up to my DVD player. Upgraded from a Kenwood receiver that I had for a HT in a box.
 
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