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Topic # 31098 4-Mar-2009 15:42
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Have just bought a Samsung 37" Full HD TV (LA37A550D) teamed up with an older Panasonic HD DVD Player and SKY Digital. I want to feed all of these through a new reciever and then out a single HDMI cable to the TV. In 12mths or so buy a PS3 for Blu Ray etc. So wanting a HT Receiver with HDMI 1.3 ouput and HD Audio Processing. What should I get for a budget of less than a grand?

I do prefer the Onkyo 606 though its a little out of my price range and have heard some bad reviews. I am leaning towards the Sony STRDG820 or the STRDA2400ES as I can get these at trade price. Other options are the Onkyo 576, Yamaha 463, or Pioneer 918.

Thoughts?

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  Reply # 199235 4-Mar-2009 16:03
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mackian: Have just bought a Samsung 37" Full HD TV (LA37A550D) teamed up with an older Panasonic HD DVD Player and SKY Digital. I want to feed all of these through a new reciever and then out a single HDMI cable to the TV. In 12mths or so buy a PS3 for Blu Ray etc. So wanting a HT Receiver with HDMI 1.3 ouput and HD Audio Processing. What should I get for a budget of less than a grand?

I do prefer the Onkyo 606 though its a little out of my price range and have heard some bad reviews. I am leaning towards the Sony STRDG820 or the STRDA2400ES as I can get these at trade price. Other options are the Onkyo 576, Yamaha 463, or Pioneer 918.

Thoughts?


Going through a similar exercise at the moment.

Onkyo 576, Yamaha 463 and Pioneer 918 don't decode the new HD sound formats (DD-THD, DTS-HD(MA) etc). You have to go to the 606, 663 and 1018 respectively

ES series Sonys are supposedly better than the straight STRs.  I helped a friend install a 2400ES and I must say it appeared to be quite good.  It isn't as configurable as some receivers but that just makes it simpler to set up (as long as you aren't trying something tricky).  Can't comment on its ability to upconvert or upscale SD pictures because sources I looked at were all HDMI.

Onkyo 606 can probably be got for a litttle over $1000.  It got a WhatHiFi? magazine award last year.

There are other posts which discuss the audio output from PS3 via hdmi.

The only receiver I have seen (since Chrismas) that has been less than $1000 that does what you want was a Panasonic one.  However it failed the 'lift' test being about a third of the weight of the Onkyo 606 on display next to it.




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  Reply # 199236 4-Mar-2009 16:06
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Check back on this forum for the av receiver thread, was fairly recent.

Basically you have to make a choice:
a)Are you going to pair this with a device that can decode all the HD audio formats itself (eg top range bluray players and PS3)
OR b)do you want a receiver that's capable of doing all this internally itself, in which case you can pair it with a cheap model bluray player.

Option a is cheaper, but less flexible if you move to a cheap bluray player in the future.


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  Reply # 199239 4-Mar-2009 16:08
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I bought a Yamaha receiver that does a wonderful job of both upscaling AND outputting content at 1080p. It also has superb audio quality.
But they are bad at designing remote controls. And it wasn't even close to being under $1000.




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  Reply # 199240 4-Mar-2009 16:11
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I have onkyo 576 with PS3.  $700 at the mo.
576 can't decode itself, but PS3 can.  Also PS3 can only output decoded info anyway, so it's a good match with 576.

606 is roughly $1100 last time I checked, does all HD audio itself.
With PS3 you're not using the internal decoding of the receiver at all.
606 much more flexible if you drop PS3 in future and want to use a $500 bluray player in the future.

Panasonic/Sony etc all have two bluray players in their lineup.  A basic one that can't internally decode, which passes info to receiver to do it.  And an expensive one that can internally decode, and passes all the raw info to the receiver (and PS3 is in this category).


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  Reply # 199241 4-Mar-2009 16:12
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magu: I bought a Yamaha receiver that does a wonderful job of both upscaling AND outputting content at 1080p.
Oh yeah, 576 is crap at receiver switching sort of thing, doesn't output analogue input sources out over the hdmi output.  Believe the 606 is much better at this.



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  Reply # 199277 4-Mar-2009 19:55
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Thanks guys - very impressed by the responses! (first time on these forums)

I would really prefer to spend around the $600 mark (e.g. the 576) but it sounds like I could be buying old limiting technology at that price point ... I have Sky and DVD connected by component and don't want to run all that extra cabling to the TV (so much nicer to have it all run through a single HDMI) and ideally (I think) have something that can decode HD Audio.

I read this review of the 606 and the video processing results didn't sound good: http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/onkyo-tx-sr606-black/4505-6466_7-32956253.html



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  Reply # 199303 4-Mar-2009 22:32
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Have had audio only amps for years and new to home theatre - so if I went down the path of the 576 would an option be to continue with my Scart to Component (SKY) and Comp to Comp (DVD) connected to the TV and then connect the TV to the Receiver through Audio Out? This would be the case until I purchase an HDMI capable source (i.e. PS3), or does this negate having a video capable receiver?

Any other options as far as receivers or do I need to start selling some old toys/gadgets so I can get something over my budget?

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  Reply # 199304 4-Mar-2009 22:43
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I've got a Yamaha 660 which seems to decode any audio I can throw at it, but it doesn't do any HDMI upscaling, the 661 was the first model that did that. If you can find a 661 or 662 on special somewhere then it might be a good option. The 661 is almost 2 years old, but as NZ tends to have year-old models on shelves as the "current" model, odds of finding one somewhere aren't too remote, and the 663 was released at the start of 2008 but is still the "current" model in Australasia, if you're able to find it on special somewhere (they should be due for a new model by now) then I'd imagine you'd be paying around the $1k mark for a really good receiver.

Anything lower than the 600 series currently won't decode TrueHD, although it's backwardly compatible with normal Dolby Digital 5.1 so you'll still be able to play from a TrueHD source, you'll just get it in 5.1 instead.

Pretty sure the 663 only upscales analogue to 1080i, not 1080p, but don't quote me on that.

Receiver shopping is a nightmare, the whole procedure is wrought with overblown and largely unverifiable figures. Just don't buy anything with "Bose" stamped on the front and you're onto a good start...

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  Reply # 199305 4-Mar-2009 22:45
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mackian: Have had audio only amps for years and new to home theatre - so if I went down the path of the 576 would an option be to continue with my Scart to Component (SKY) and Comp to Comp (DVD) connected to the TV and then connect the TV to the Receiver through Audio Out? This would be the case until I purchase an HDMI capable source (i.e. PS3), or does this negate having a video capable receiver?

Any other options as far as receivers or do I need to start selling some old toys/gadgets so I can get something over my budget?


You can still run SKY --> 576 and DVD --> 576 and then 576 --> TV all using component cable. Then you have a single cable running to the TV still and video switching in the receiver.

Once you have all HDMI sources you can then switch over to using HDMI instead (alternatively you can run both hdmi and component and switch inputs on the TV as well as the 576 when swpping between them)




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  Reply # 199343 5-Mar-2009 08:12
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mackian: Have had audio only amps for years and new to home theatre - so if I went down the path of the 576 would an option be to continue with my Scart to Component (SKY) and Comp to Comp (DVD) connected to the TV and then connect the TV to the Receiver through Audio Out? This would be the case until I purchase an HDMI capable source (i.e. PS3), or does this negate having a video capable receiver?

Any other options as far as receivers or do I need to start selling some old toys/gadgets so I can get something over my budget?


Further to Regs comment above.
If you go Source-TV-Receceiver instead of Source-Receiver-TV then as far as I know that will downmix the audio from 5.1 (DVD) to stereo.

Take it from someone who has an expensive 2 year old receiver that will only pass hdmi up to 1080i you need to try and future proof with the new codecs and hdmi1.3 without spending a fortune.




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  Reply # 199356 5-Mar-2009 09:14
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Dingbatt:
mackian: Have had audio only amps for years and new to home theatre - so if I went down the path of the 576 would an option be to continue with my Scart to Component (SKY) and Comp to Comp (DVD) connected to the TV and then connect the TV to the Receiver through Audio Out? This would be the case until I purchase an HDMI capable source (i.e. PS3), or does this negate having a video capable receiver?

Any other options as far as receivers or do I need to start selling some old toys/gadgets so I can get something over my budget?


Further to Regs comment above.
If you go Source-TV-Receceiver instead of Source-Receiver-TV then as far as I know that will downmix the audio from 5.1 (DVD) to stereo.

Take it from someone who has an expensive 2 year old receiver that will only pass hdmi up to 1080i you need to try and future proof with the new codecs and hdmi1.3 without spending a fortune.


Not just that, but the DACs in your TV are likely to be fairly shoddy. Not like any TV is going to 6 to 8 channel pre-outs :P.

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  Reply # 199362 5-Mar-2009 09:48
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It's fairly common that if you go to tv first on hdmi, the tv tells the source that it's only 2 channel speakers, so the source sends stereo only.  If you then use the tv hdmi out (if it has one), this signal will only be the stereo going to the tv.  Therefore it's really better to go to the receiver first and then to the tv. 

Some of us like to run the tv only speakers sometimes, like for tv news or whatever, and don't want to fire up all the big speakers, but this is quite hard to do under the hdmi system.  There's an option on the 576 to send the audio on to the tv as well as just the video, but if you choose this, the receiver only works in two channel itself as well.  HDMI has made this a little more complex than it ever used to be.

The 576 is a good cheap choice that gives access to all HD audio sources if something else does the decoding, eg PS3.  It falls down though on not having the nice receiver functions, like converting analogue inputs like component video to hdmi outputs.  This suits me as eventually I hope to use just the PS3 for playTV PVR and bluray and dvd player etc etc so I wont need any switching abilities and everything will be bliss, (IF PlayTV ever arrives?...)

Receiver shopping is a nightmare, the whole procedure is wrought with overblown and largely unverifiable figures.
Amen to this!  Shop assistants simply DO NOT know the specs that are important to you.  If it's not written on the front, they don't know it.  Sorry but often you have to read deep in the manuals to get the answers you want.  As a rough rule of thumb, make sure anything you look at has hdmi v1.3 capabilities.  Others will be able to contribute other points to look for, maybe we should start a list to help us all.

There are literally heaps of current models, but this is a dangerous time to buy if you haven't identified exactly what you want from the receiver.  There are many cheap models being cleared as they do not have hdmi support, or if they do, they only switch it and do not process any audio from it.  Bluray has sorted the majority of the HD Audio formats now, so this is a good thing as there shouldn't be too much development of new audio formats for a while now, in my opinion.




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  Reply # 199384 5-Mar-2009 11:35
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So it sounds like the benefits of the 606 (over the 576) are nullified by the PS3 decoding at the source. Will the PS3 decode and send DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD through the 576 too?

Seems the only advantage of the 606 is that it upscales analogue signal through HDMI but I've read the quality of this is poor in the 606 anyway.

Also with the 576 - once I get an HDMI source this will take both audio and video to the TV via a single HDMI cable?

Thanks!

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  Reply # 199390 5-Mar-2009 11:58
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mackian:
Also with the 576 - once I get an HDMI source this will take both audio and video to the TV via a single HDMI cable?


Would you even need to send the audio to the TV?

Jaxson did mention watching the news through the tv only speakers, but it complicates things when you have to use two volume dials and lower the volume on the  TV when you want audio out of the AMP.  Muting the TV isnt really an option because you get that silly "mute" logo floating around on the screen.  I guess an advances macro-based remote control makes this easier, but a hassle all the same

I have all my audio going through the amp and the only time i ever turn up the volume on the TV is when i need to fire up Prime (cause it doesnt come through freeview!)




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  Reply # 199391 5-Mar-2009 12:07
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Regs:
mackian:
Also with the 576 - once I get an HDMI source this will take both audio and video to the TV via a single HDMI cable?


Would you even need to send the audio to the TV?

Jaxson did mention watching the news through the tv only speakers, but it complicates things when you have to use two volume dials and lower the volume on the  TV when you want audio out of the AMP.  Muting the TV isnt really an option because you get that silly "mute" logo floating around on the screen.  I guess an advances macro-based remote control makes this easier, but a hassle all the same

I have all my audio going through the amp and the only time i ever turn up the volume on the TV is when i need to fire up Prime (cause it doesnt come through freeview!)

For that I recommend the wonderful line of Logitech Harmony remotes. I have an 880 controlling the following without a glitch:

- Yamaha AV Receiver- Sony TV- Apple TV- Xbox 360- Sky Decoder

You can specify Activities so that when you want to watch Prime, the remote mutes the AV and raises the volume of the TV, or the other way around for other activities.
A must for home-theater-philes. ;)




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