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Camp
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I'm out of HDMI ports on my TV and I think it's probably time to replace my 5 year old Harmon Kardon receiver.

 

I haven't kept up with the Home Theater scene for a couple years but I know many of you are true experts. I am looking to be steered in the right direction.

 

  • I want HDMI switching and clean video performance. I'll feed video from an Apple TV, DirecTV DVR, a PS3 and an Xbox 360 through the receiver.
  • The amp section must be robust. My previous electronics included Anthem separates and 3 H/K receivers. I stuck with H/K receivers because they seem to have an "amp first" design mentality. They sound good. Not sure if that's still the case though.
  • I can't think of any other feature I really care about.
  • I'd like to spend between $400 and $999.

 

Any suggestions? Is now a good time to buy?

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If you like Denon, the 988 (2808 minus zone 3 and second remote) can be had for $540 at amazon. I just bought one. The first missing link on it is that it only has two HDMI ports. Which in your case could be ok by feeding the Apple TV and the PS3 through those ports since the other two don't (arguably) have any benefit by using HDMI over Component. The second "problem" is that it doesn't come with the lastest Audyssey bells and whistles (dynamic volume and dynamic EQ). Those features weren't that big of a deal to me since I don't watch live tv that much and I never need to engage a "night mode." Since I didn't need the HDMI nor the new Audyssey, I was able to save quite a bit over suggested retail.

 

I find the amp to be substantial enough to drive my speakers (Tannoy Towers and PSB image series rears) at reference level (I actually listen about 25 dB below reference for most Blu-Rays). My speakers are pretty efficient so YMMV.

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That is certainly a great price.

 

I really want more HDMI ports though. I already have the HDMI cables plus I'd like to minimize the runs of separate audio and video cables. Even if I went component with some devices I'm certain I'll want more HDMI options in the future.

 

I notice some HDMI switching receivers actually apply some processing to the video signal. Many upconvert to a desired resolution. How successful is this in real world use? Is one chipset preferred over another? I like the idea but I'm a bit concerned about letting a receiver process video.

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The Onkyo 805 will pass it thru untouched. I know the 806 will not.

 

The 805 is a good piece and has a healthy amp section. It was underpriced at it's MSRP. You should be able to still find one for $599. The amp tests show it will put out it's rated power. It's Ultra 2 THX Certified and is plenty receiver for you. It has 3 HDMI inputs. If that's an issue, you'll have to look elsewhere but I hardly doubt you will find a receiver as powerful as it for the same money or less.

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Camp, I'm not home and am sending this from my Touch so can't provide links but give the Pioneer 1018 a look. It's getting excellentword of mouth and is currently the front runner to replac my HK 435.

 

Is this essentially the same thing as the Pioneer Elite VSX-01TXH?

 

I'd like to explore the differences between these two more closely. Is the Elite series just upgraded visually or do they do something else under the hood?

 

Does Pioneer use some different kind of amp tech? All their data says, "Direct Energy Amplification". What kind of marketing speak is that? How is their amp section regarded?

 

I love the idea of the Onkyo 805 and still may go that route. However, it totally failed with the fiance due to how ugly it is. Silly reason to overlook a high performing unit, I know. :(

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I am a big fan of Yamaha although I cannot recommend a specific receiver. When I was shopping 2-years ago the Yamaha line seemed to combine features, with both power and affordability. The HTR line is sold at the box stores and is almost a complete copy of the RX-V line which is only sold in Stereo shops. The big box stores tend to be more flexible on price.

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I know its out of your budget a little bit, but have you thought about the Yamaha RX-V1900? It has just about as plain of a face on it as your going to get. Biggest issue I'd see is its $1400 MSRP, but you could probably get someplace down on that these days.

 

For full disclosure I have the RX-V1700 and love it but would kill for more HDMI ports and a better on screen GUI.

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I know its out of your budget a little bit, but have you thought about the Yamaha RX-V1900?

 

I picked up a RX-V1900 tonight. It was about double what I wanted to spend but what the hell. It's my Christmas gift to myself (along with an AppleTV).

 

Thanks for the info, gentlemen. I came very close to the Pioneer and Onkyo.

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  • 7 months later...

dogbert, shoponkyo.com has the same receiver for $379.00. Plus for signing up for Club Onkyo (signing up is free) gets you an automatic 10 points (1 point = $1 dollar), so that would bring it down to $369.

 

I bought my 605 from shoponkyo.com a couple of years ago and it's been terrific!

 

Joining the Onkyo club is pretty cool, they have club deals regularly with nice short term deals, like that SR607 might be as low as $339 or even better. Also, you earn points for purchases made. I have 30 points right now, so I think my 605 was $300 and it earned me 30 points. So if I were to purchase the SR607 myself right now it would only cost $349.

 

I'm not sure about shipping, but I'm pretty confident my 605 also included free shipping, but YMMV.

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Yeah, but a direct refurb! They go over them with a fine tooth comb, and you'll be assured of having the most up to date firmware. Like I mentioned, I haven't had an issue, and I've yet to hear of an issue with Shop Onkyo products. Aside from not arriving in a retail box, I would have thought my receiver it was brand new.

 

Anyway, It's an option!

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Had to wait till payday before I could consider it & it's now sold out. And Amazon's increased their price too. Nice.

 

So dumb receiver question time. For context, I never used my last receiver for video switching because it just had S-Video :) With these newer receivers sporting component & HDMI, if I mix & match input types, will they convert them to the one output? Meaning, can I mix & match HDMI + component + S-Video & expect to get all the video out of the one HDMI or DVI output?

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With these newer receivers sporting component & HDMI, if I mix & match input types, will they convert them to the one output?

 

Most will, yes. Several receivers will even try to upconvert the signal to HD. The results of this are mixed so I recommend making sure the receiver you chose has the option to not add any processing to the video signal. It would suck to get one and hate the added processing.

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Hey Camp,

 

I know this is a little off your original question, but have you ever thought of dividing your audio and video duties between components? I use a DVDO Edge for all the video processing and switching on my TVs, it works like a miracle and all I need to run out of it is an HDMI cable to the TV and either another HDMI or optical to the receiver for sound duties. The DVDO cleans up the picture, handles resolution issues, has auto-switching when I turn on an xbox/dvd/whatever (you set the priorities among inputs) and it cn be found for $500. The picture is excellent too, the DVDO has DNR for handling mosquito noise on SD channels - you'd have to see it to believe it.

 

Just a thought. Most 5 year old receivers still handle digital audio very well, if all you are after is video switching a video processor is something to consider. I've noticed it allows me to get a receiver purely on the sound quality: don't need it to do any video duties so I don't have to pay for that.

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