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What should I be looking for in an HDMI receiver (1 Viewer)

Stephen_J_H

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My current receiver is almost 10 years old, Dolby Digital only, and has one optical and two coax digital inputs and no analog inputs. My Toshiba HD A30 is currently plugged into my optical input, so no spare optical for a PS3. I want to upgrade my receiver before plunking down the cash for either a PS3 or a Panasonic DMP BD50. Can anyone suggest what I should be looking at in receiver specs? I don't want to lay down a pile of cash for a new receiver only to find out that it won't play audio decoded inboard by my players.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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My thinking on this is that if the receiver decodes everything, then why spend more on a player that decodes internally? The likelihood that the player will become defective is far higher than the receiver (moving parts), so if your receiver does the decoding, you don't need to have all the analog outs or internal decoding on the player.

I'd be looking for something that handles DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD, does 7.1 and has multiple HDMI connections. I don't know how good it is, but a quick look on Amazon found an Onkyo for well under $400 that does all this. I'm sure others will have similar suggestions.
 

Nick Martin

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A receiver that does the following:

-HDMI 1.3 switching (a receiver will usually have about 2 HDMI inputs bare minimum)
-Component switching (usually 3 inputs)
-Multiple Optical and Coax connections

-TrueHD and DTS-MA

-discrete 7.1 inputs

and depending on if you have one, some can incorporate an iPod, allowing you to charge/view contents on screen

and

-Multi-Zone capability, in case you have speakers in another room and want to connect them to the same receiver.

Onkyo TX-SR606 - 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver | Model Information | Onkyo USA Home Theater Products
This one is $599, and has probably everything you would need. It has 4 HDMI inputs, decodes the HD audio formats, iPod and multi-zone ready, and is less than the $1000+ 'high end' receivers out there.
 

Jeff Ulmer

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Just an FYI that the Onkyo TX-SR606 is the one I was talking about, $379 through Amazon. Looks like a pretty good unit from a price/features perspective.
 

Nick Martin

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Wow. That's pure coincidence, because I found that based only on your mention of Onkyo.
htf_images_smilies_smile.gif
 

ManW_TheUncool

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IIRC, you may want decoding on the player side in part because the PiP capability needs to handle 2 separate audio streams which might not be possible (at least for now?) when bitstreaming via HDMI. I could be wrong on this -- and someone will probably correct me, if I am.

If you're thinking you don't care about any PiP features, you might want to reconsider because some future implementation of stereoscopic 3D on Blu-ray may very need this. Of course, they might only put the audio on just the one/primary stream, not both, but why risk it, if you don't need to?

So yes, ideally, you should get *both* a player that decodes all formats as well as a receiver that handles all formats, if you're concerned about futureproofing your purchases.

_Man_
 

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