Great! Thank you for all the information. Lets say I bought a new AVR with HDMI and then did the HTPC to AVR via HDMI then AVR to TV via HDMI, would it matter if the HTPC has only 6 channel audio to get 7.1? My main question would probably be does the "6 channel audio" affect the output of the HDMI or are they two separate things on the motherboard?
I have had this AVR for many years, its time to upgrade, I been wanting to upgrade because I hate how hard this AVR is to change settings. I have been wanting something newer for a while now. Any suggestions? I have currently, PS3, Xbox 360, HTPC (soon), Direct TV DVR that are all currently connecting into my TV if it matters.
Looking at your choice of motherboards, it says it does 8 channels of audio - ( digital ), and it's got an HDMI out, so I don't see that it would be a problem. With a new AVR you're going to want the AVR to do the decoding anyways, which means bitstreaming audio out of you HTPC. Don't worry it sounds complicated but it's just a setting. You'd do this via HDMI, which basically won't touch the source at all and sends it to the receiver to decode. So if the medium you're playing is encoded with 7.1 audio, DTS - MA 7.1 or what have you, ( assuming you're playing a blue ray on your htpc ) it will send that information ( all 8 channels ) untouched from your PC to your AVR, at which point the AVR takes over and will decode it and send it where it's supposed to go, in this case 7.1 discrete audio channels.
As far as AVR suggestions go, for the most part it's a personal preference, with one person swearing that their brand of choice ( x ) destroys brand ( y ) every time. What's your budget? The most popular brands seem to be Onkyo and Denon, with Yamaha and Pioneer fans swearing by their equipment also. Some higher end " audiophile " quality brands include Marantz, who make some cool looking AVR's - great for wow factor with looks, Anthem, NAD, and Cambridge audio. Though I wouldn't worry too much about dropping a ton of money on those - I have a mid range Denon with my HTPC and PS3 hooked up, and it sounds superlative IMO.
Edited by sean1976, July 09 2013 - 10:44 AM.