Hey folks! I made the jump to high-def video in December 2008 with a new 50" Samsung plasma TV and PS3 for Blu-Rays, fed through HDMI for the best video quality. I have now decided that I'm tired of dealing with last-generation audio on sub-par speakers and would like to upgrade my receiver and speakers to something that will actually support HD audio. Researching speakers is comparatively easy and in any case I'll have to actually demo and listen to any speakers I'm interested in before trying them out. Researching receivers, on the other hand, is beginning to make my head spin. Denon, for example, confuses the hell out of me with its naming scheme. I always thought smaller model numbers meant older models; Denon, on the other hand, has what seems to be a fairly high-end model with the AVR-990 ($1499 MSRP), and then the AVR-1610 (next in line) has......less power? Fewer inputs? A price of $379? More comparisons only confused me more. These two models look like almost exactly alike to me. What's the difference? Are the "CI" models the newest versions of the "older" 890/990 line, or something? [AVR-2310CI] 7.1 CH A/V Home Theater Multi-Source/Multi-Zone Receiver 105 watts per channel x 7 channels Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIz decoding DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS ES 6.1 Discrete, DTS ES 6.1 Matrix, DTS Neo:6 decoding Anchor Bay ABT-2010 advanced analog and digital video 1080p/24fps/60fps upconversion and deinterlacing with multi-cadence detection Audyssey MultEQ automatic room acoustic measuring and correction system Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ Sirius satellite ready 5 HDMI inputs [AVR-890] 7.1 CH A/V Home Theater Multi-Source/Multi-Zone Receiver 105 watts per channel x 7 channels Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIz decoding DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS ES 6.1 Discrete, DTS ES 6.1 Matrix, DTS Neo:6 decoding Audyssey MultEQ automatic room acoustic measuring and correction system Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ Sirius satellite ready Anchor Bay ABT-2010 advanced analog and digital video 1080p/24fps/60fps upconversion and deinterlacing with multi-cadence detection 5 HDMI inputs, 2 component inputs Also, the next model up from each of these has a $600 price jump for what's apparently a small increase in power per channel and the addition of networking. Is the networking ability really THAT pricey? I should add that I don't need a receiver with a billion inputs. I currently have only two devices that are actually playing sound through the receiver: the PS3, which I use for Blu-Rays and DVDs, and a PS2 which I use for older games. I don't have digital cable, satellite TV, a DVR, or anything that most people might need to plug in. I do have an ancient VCR and a couple of older gaming systems, but both of those are playing sound through the TV's speakers via composite audio. Here's another question. I saw something on the Denon website that said all signals can be converted to HDMI. Does that mean I could run the composite video/audio of my VCR, the HDMI cable from my PS3, the component video cables and optical audio cable from my PS2, and the composite video/audio cables from the older consoles to the receiver -- and then have just a single HDMI cable to the TV for video? Would choosing a source on the receiver then switch both audio AND video? Currently I run all my video direct to the TV (HDMI from the PS3, component cables from the PS2, composite from the VCR and older consoles) and switch between video signals using the TV's remote. If everything can indeed be done through the receiver I'd probably be better off (especially since it seems all these newer receivers have their own on-deck upconversion for video signals connected using older analog cables). I suppose the upshot of all this is that I need help choosing the best receiver for me. What I do need: 1. The latest HD audio capabilities/decoders and one or two HDMI inputs. This is, after all, the main reason I'm buying it -- for high-def audio. 2. Sufficient power to drive a mid-level set of speakers (budget, say, $3000 for a set of 5 -- I'm more interested in getting nice speakers than in getting the newest flashiest receiver). Even the lowest-end receiver I've seen has 75 watts per channel. What I don't need: 1. Networking (the receiver is too far from my router upstairs for me to run cable, and anyway, I use my PS3 to connect via wireless to my home PC, which serves as a media server for video and audio). 2. More than a couple HDMI inputs -- the PS3 is the only thing that will be using HDMI for video. No current plans to add digital cable, satellite or DVRs to the mix. 3. Horrendous power per channel. The highest-end speakers I've looked at (Polk Audio's RTAi A9 line) says they need 50-500 watts per channel. I don't plan on using these to blow pictures off the walls; I live in an apartment, after all. 4. Nine channels. I don't even have space for a 7-speaker setup (my couch sits against the back wall and the two rear surrounds are placed at each side of it; I'd have nowhere for additional rear surrounds). 5. Multi-zone capability (if this is the right terminology) -- I'll be using it to drive the 5.1 system in the same room. That's it. Don't need to hook up a separate set of speakers in another room, or anything. Based on this it seems to me that the Denon AVR-890 or AVR-2310CI would work just fine, or the Onkyo TX-SR707 . Other possible suggestions? Thanks in advance for listening. I haven't been this confused since I made the jump to DVD and home theater originally.