I have recently found myself bored, flush with cash, and able to access Amazon. Never a good combination. Finally decided to start upgrading to Blu-ray and I would like a home theater that can do the format justice. Already have settled on a TV and Blu-ray player but I am unsure on the matter of which receiver suits my needs best. My criteria are:
1. can throughput 1080p/24fps (Selected my TV and BDP on this principle.)
2. will accept video AND audio in its HDMI inputs (That may be an outdated criteria but my current receiver cannot do this.)
2. supports 7.1 surround
3. supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA
4. some sort of auto-calibration feature for the speakers
5. preferably non-3D (Just don't want to pay for a feature I don't believe in yet and TV/BDP don't support it anyway.)
6. preferably Sony (This isn't a deal breaker but it soothes my OCD tendencies.
Currently, I'm considering Sony's STR-DH520/710/800/810. The 520 and 810 are the frontrunners even though they support 3D. They are the least expensive, priced at around $175 for used units on Amazon. The other two are more expensive, despite being non-3D, but satisfy my criteria more than the other two because they are non-3D. I could really use some first hand experience with these newer receivers. Is there a slightly older, and hopefully less expensive, receiver out there that satisfies my criteria? Thanks in advance for any assistance.
I wouldn't avoid 3D-capable receivers just cause you think you're paying for an unneeded feature, because that just means it's HDMI 1.4 or later, which also gives ARC (Audio Return Channel) which is a nifty feature and avoiding HDMI 1.4 or later means you'll likely have to look for something released before 2H 2009 (I'm not a fan of purchasing modern solid state audio gear used, but that's personal preference).
4 will likely take you out of the $200 range, as it'll need to include a setup mic (In some brands look for "Audessey" badging, maybe it's called something different in Sony-land).
One thing you may want to look for is "upconversion of analog sources to HDMI (720P/1080i/1080P)", even if you don't care for the added resolution/sharpness on analog signals, this means you don't have to create analog paths (component/S-video/composite) all the way through the receiver to the TV (you only have 1 HDMI cable running from receiver to tv to carry video for all input sources). This is also a feature that's usually not available on the very lowest end models, but I think it's available on the Sony STR=DH8xx line and above.
Other models you might look at are Yamaha RX-V3xx/4xx/5xx+ (though avoid the Aventure line, I've heard from many big box guys that they have a high failure/return rate, and since they often steer those enquiring about that line to cheaper alternatives I'm inclined to believe them). Onkyo gives a lot of features for the money, but might be out of your range. Denon gives excellent sound quality, but I find the menus and setup a bit more fiddly for the newbie or non-techie.