I am quite close to purchasing my first real Audio Receiver and have nearly settled on buying a Sony STR-DA3000ES for between $650-$700 that I have seen offered by various internet merchants. I purchase nearly 90% of all big ticket items (greater than $100) in my life online to save on sales tax. I have made this preliminary decision based on the features this model has like the multiple format decoding, ease of use when it is all set up, 2 Zone/2 Room, good number (8) of audio inputs, etc. I love DVD movies, especially great surround sound in movies and I love all types of music. I expect this machine will be on and feeding me sound 18 hours a day. My HT Receiver will be hooked up to a Sony Trinitron 36" HD Ready Flat Screen TV with an XBox and Satellite TV receiver. I have no other audio equipment yet purchased but intend to add a SACD player, Progressive Scan DVD player, $150 tape deck, $150 phono player, $150 CD/MP3/CD-R player, and 2 front floor speakers, as well as bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer to give me 5.1 surround sound. I will add two more speakers to give me 7.1 about a year after I purchase the above. I intend to spend about $900 on the initial 5.1 speakers. The initial room I put it in to watch movies/TV is about 20'x20' but in the next year I intend to use the multi-room function to set up a speaker selector and put speakers-only in 4 other rooms of my house in order to allow me to listen to a CD/radio seamlessly throughout. I expect to spend about $300-$400 per room in speakers as I expand. I felt pretty comfortable with getting the 3000ES after I started looking at receivers at Best Buy for around $300 and gradually educating myself on the difference between those low-end models and the ES series that retail over $1,000. This machine seems to be light-years ahead of those sold at Circuit City, Best Buy, etc but I'm reading more and more criticism and am now doubting if I am being duped into buying a sub-par product. For the uses I have outlined and my intention to gradually upgrade speakers and players over the coming years as my tastes and budget allow, is this a viable machine for me or is it obvious to someone I am setting myself up for disappointment because of connection, sound or other limitations? After I settle on the receiver I'll be asking for suggestions on a brand/family/line of speakers I can start with and upgrade in pieces over time. Thanks in advance, the other threads I've read seem to indicate there are lots of people here that know so much more then me and are willing to share the knowledge. Peace.