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Are any current receivers future-proof?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jesse Skeen, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Please forgive my lack of knowledge in this area, but here's the story- I wasn't planning on upgrading my current receiver for a while, but I got a great deal on a player that does DVD-Audio and SACD (through an analog 5.1 output) that was too good to pass up. Only problem is my current receiver doesn't have a 5.1 analog input, so I can't hook it up properly.

    If I do have to get a new receiver, I'd like it to be compatible with any known upcoming audio formats, so that at the very least I can hear them without having to replace it yet again. That said, I don't know much about the new audio formats on the new HD discs like Dolby TrueHD and what exactly you need to play those properly. I probably won't be getting either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray for a while longer, but if I get a new receiver now I basically don't want to have to worry about it missing something I need to connect and play those properly. When I bought into DVD, I bought a receiver with Dolby Digital and DTS (one of the first affordable ones that actually included both, for under $1000) because I refused to listen to 5.1 soundtracks downmixed to 2-channel on my old one.

    So, with that in mind, am I safe buying something that's out now or will it be obsolete fairly soon? I know HDMI is a must; I've also noticed the Blu-Ray and HD players currently out have 5.1 analog outputs on them too; will those output all sound formats that are in use or do you need a separate decoder for some of them? Basically I want to get something with analog 5.1 jacks so I can enjoy my SACD player now, and have it ready for the new video formats when I finally upgrade to those. If those new formats are going to require more than what's available right now, I'll just wait a little longer.
     
  2. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    next year after HDMI 1.3 receivers appear with Dolby TrueHD decoding it should be fairly safe for a couple of years
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    So is there no way to play Dolby TrueHD right now? I thought a few HD-DVDs already had it. Of course there were a number of AC-3 laserdiscs out before there was any equipment to play those on.
     
  4. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    there is a way to play those - decoded by the player; into LPCM (through HDMI any version) or analog (thru the multichannel analog outputs)
     
  5. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    I've read elsewhere that suppsoedly the two Toshiba HD-DVD players out now can decode TrueHD and DTS-HD with a firmware upgrade. Can't remember what connection(s) the decoded signal used though.

    IMO having a 5.1/7.1 analog input on a receiver, along with some old-skool stereo ones, ought to nearly future-proof any receiver. Digital just is not the end all/be all of audio. And if you read the industry news sites, the RIAA and Hollywood reeeeeeally want those analog connections dropped & all the digital ones to be encrypted with some form of DRM (just like HDMI already is). [​IMG]

    Is something major on the horizon?

    * not all manufacturer sites allow you to download manuals without registering with them

    ** and if the MLP lossless compression system was used on the dvd, I'm just assuming the player DEcompresses these and then sends them out
     
  6. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    Lance,

    I dunno what version any player is using, except unless otherwise stated in the manual but it probably is safe to assume that if you buy one now it will be at least HDMI 1.1 (especially since Jesse was talking about the HD players)

    as far as there being something on the horizon.. no I have not heard of anything beyond HDMI1.3 and the two new surround encoding formats, but I bet there will be upgrades and in two years it will be a significant one (like HDMI1.3 is now)

    Coming back to the original question... closest anyone can get to future-proofing receiver is probably Onkyo (pre-pros like Anthem etc are upgradeable, iirc)

    [​IMG]

    it does depend on Onkyo making upgrades available though, and I'm not sure ho they would do new decoders (firmware, maybe)
     
  7. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Sorry, my comment wasn't really directed to you personally, rather I was just putting it out there for anyone reading this thread.

    ************************************************** *
    This is another one of my "back in my day" type rants [​IMG] : a couple weeks ago I was checking out a Fry's electronics store I'd never been to. They have a lot of interesting audio gear from the big brands that brick-n-mortar Best Buy/Circuit stores don't carry I guess because its too specialized (like an Onkyo power amp for example & I think they sold a Mini-Disc player/recorder too) and less popular brands. They sell some stuff from AudioSource which in this story's case was a stereo preamp and two matching power amps. As I was looking at the preamp and noticing its spartan feature complement - just bass, treble & balance knobs, individual buttons for input source and a power button - without any "pre-thinking" about it I suddenly thought to myself "what a relief to see something that makes sense and does what you think it does". Anyone reading my long-ass posts knows I love surround sound* but I have to admit, this hobby for me is starting to be UNfun because of the near-anarchy in the flexible standards (if there are even standards to start with) for many newer audio formats and the amount of useless "advancements" manufacturers are forcing us to deal with. Example: maybe I wasn't doing something right but recently while playing with an Onkyo demo receiver, I realized there was no "no back surround" choice in the speaker setup menu, just "1 back surround" and "2 back surround". [​IMG] I've been waiting for someone to do this i.e. start chipping away at that system so the user HAS to buy speakers he doesn't absolutely need and force him to place them somewhere in his listening room. I just didn't think Onkyo would be the one to do it.

    * in the back of my mind I'm putting together a basic 2.0 system, consisting of two large politically-incorrect speakers, a nice CD player, a vintage tuner and a turntable for a book/music/study room
     
  8. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    I think the no back surround option is only available when you do not connect speakers - or rather it becomes the default no option ... i guess.

    no kidding about the complexity - in the other thread Robert posted a link to a 10-page dissertation on HDMI. imagine that - 10 pages to explain an interconnect - o I realize it does what it does and why you need 10 pages to explain it, but if you needed that for, say analog RCA connections, stereo would have died a long time ago.
     

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