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Ordered 1080p TV, need help choosing A/V receiver

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,
I just ordered a Sony 40" XBR2 TV and could use some help choosing a Sony receiver A/V. All this technology is confusing to me: I'm not sure which features I need.

I currently have a very basic progressive scan DVD player (component out). At the end of the year, I plan on buying a PS3, which includes the Blu-ray DVD player. I guess at that point, I won't need my old DVD player anymore.

Anyway, on to the receiver. Is there anything wrong with buying an older model, such as the DA5000ES? It doesn't have HDMI capabilities, but I figure that when I get the PS3, I'll run the HDMI cord directly to the TV and the coaxial audio to the receiver. Is there any downside to that?

An alternative is to buy a current model receiver. The best one in my price range is the DG600 (which also does not have HDMI). Is there any reason to choose the DG600 over the older DA5000ES unit?

Although the DG800 (which features HDMI Passthrough, whatever that is) is out of my pricerange, if you tell me the DG800 is superior to both, I can hold out and save my pennies. btw, what's the difference between HDMI Passthrough and HDMI output?

Thanks in advance for your help!
post #2 of 13
Is there any reason your receiver needs to be Sony? Also, you didn't mention any speakers. Are you only going to hook up a DVD player to the tv?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I get good prices on Sony stuff through an employee discount. However, if they're a compelling reason to get something else, I'm all ears.

I didn't mention speakers because I'm not in a position to buy them yet. I have some speakers to hold me over, and I plan on upgrading them at a later date.

Yes, just planning on hooking up the DVD player (and later the PS3/Blu-ray). No other components on the horizon.
post #4 of 13
I think you can do better than the Sony. I'm partial to Denon, but their cheapest receiver is ~$350, which I believe is out of your price range. I've found http://www.audioholics.com/showcase/...evelsystem.php
to be a very helpful website, and they mention a Pioneer receiver at $300 as their top budget receiver. Also, http://www.audioreview.com/defaultcrx.aspx has a great collection of user reviews for all sorts of A/V equipment. Basically, with such a nice TV, I think you might as well try to build your system slowly but with high quality components. A good receiver can last you years.
post #5 of 13
After a quick check, seems the newer model of that Pioneer receiver is going for about $225 from various sellers.
post #6 of 13
I am not sure of the context but HDMI passthrough and HDMI output is probably the same thing. DG800 and similar priced competing receivers usually support two HDMI inputs (plus any number of Component, S-video and composite inputs) and one HDMI output.

These types of receivers allow you to connect several HDMI sources (PS3, DVD player, Sattelite receiver, Cable box, etc) to your reciever and then have one HDMI cable going to your TV/Monitor. You would then use your receiver to switch sources. If you have non-HDMI sources, like the DVD player you describes, then you would need to connect a component video cable to your receiver and have a second component cable going from your receiver to your TV.

If you go with an older or less expensive receiver most likely it would only be capable of switching Component, S-Video, and Composite sources. You would then have to connect HDMI sources like PS3 directly to your TV like you describe and connect the optical/digital audio output to your receiver's input. There is no downside to that except maybe being slightly less convenient. When you end up with several components you may have to use several remote controls to switch audio, video, dysplay ratio and such. One way to get around this is to use a programmable universal remote.


I recommend you visit www.avsforum.com for all things AV and www.agoraquest.com for Sony specific discussions.
post #7 of 13
Sorry to hear you got the Sony, I'am an HP MD6580 man myself

I keed.... The audio, ht forums are good sources for relatively inexpensive ideas on all things home theater but keep in mind that like all forums, you'll learn more than you ever want to and you will also wind up spending more than you ever thought
post #8 of 13
One good reason to get a receiver with an HDMI input is that the full potential of the next-gen DVD formats's audio, both HD-DVD and BD, can only be realized by using the multichannel analog outputs of the player, or by a receiver that can receive the multichannel digital data through HDMI. If you still use S/PDIF, you will either get only two channels, or a DTS (lossy) encoding of potentially lossy soundtracks on the disc. For example, all current HD-DVD releases are encoded with Dolby Digital Plus, which is a lossy format, and the Toshiba HD-DVD player reencodes DD+ as DTS. Tandem coding, or doing multiple lossy encodings in a row is really a big no-no, though people so far aren't complaining about the quality.

BD will have similar issues, though I think many BD titles just use raw PCM.

Anyway, it's worth your time considering a receiver which has at least HDMI 1.1, and can process 6 channels of PCM digital data through its HDMI inputs. I believe the PS3 will be the first device with HDMI 1.3, but that's irrelevant, and it should be backwards compatible with 1.1.

--Andre
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for the advice. I created a duplicate thread on avs; as I suspected, I received a much greater response here. Based on your collective advice, it looks like I could survive on an older unit, but the better option is to get something that supports HDMI.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I figured out what HDMI passthrough means. It has the capability to connect two HDMI (video only) sources to the receiver, which has one HDMI cable going to the TV. However, audio must be connected to the receiver through coaxial or optical. Thus, although slightly more convenient than hooking HDMI sources directly to the TV, the DG800 does not address the issue raised by Andre. To get HDMI audio, I need to spend nearly twice as much!
post #11 of 13
Or just wait for the inevitible price drop..
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law
I figured out what HDMI passthrough means. It has the capability to connect two HDMI (video only) sources to the receiver, which has one HDMI cable going to the TV. However, audio must be connected to the receiver through coaxial or optical. Thus, although slightly more convenient than hooking HDMI sources directly to the TV, the DG800 does not address the issue raised by Andre. To get HDMI audio, I need to spend nearly twice as much!
I don't know what your budget is. However, worrying about HDMI from a receiver perspective is a little silly at this point. HDMI standards are still changing--1.1, 1.2, 1.3. You get the idea. Wait a couple of years for the standard to settle along with the prices. You will be perfectly happy to get an older receiver that doesn't support HDMI. Run HDMI from PS3/HD-DVD/BluRay directly to display for video. Run optical cable to the receiver for sound. Then, you can plug all of your non-HDMI into the receiver via component, or whatever, and run component from the receiver to the display. I'm partial to NAD. They sound awesome and don't have a bunch of worthless bells and whistles you won't use, anyway. You pay for and, more importantly, get what's important--clean, low-distortion amplification. Check AudiogoN or Spearitsound on the web. Consider T743, T753, T763, T773 (I don't know what speakers you're going to run). You can buy factory authorized refurbished unit from Spearit with factory warranty to tide you over until HDMI gets worked out. Using a $40 Radio Shack SPL for set up results in a relatively easy process and fantastic sound. I did exactly this with an NAD T763 (a six-channel receiver) to run 5 Anthony Gallo Due's and Velodyne SPL-1200R. The sound is remarkably clean. In a couple of years, I'll spend the money for a pre/pro configuration that will handle full HDMI video switching and high-res audio formats. At which point, I'll add two more Gallo Due's. Also, consider a Logitech Harmony remote to make all of your stuff work from a simple, programmable remote. I bought one on a lark (actually it was a BestBuy gift card) designed for the XBox 360. It runs everything I have and was easy to program. When I click, "Watch TV" it turns everything on and to the correct input/output settings. The same for "Play XBox," "Watch DVD," or whatever. I think these are about $125 and easily one of the best surprises I've come across. Finally, you can buy THX Certified Monster Cables on EBay (I forget the seller I bought from but he's from NM and sells a ton of cables). High-end A/V cables have cocaine-like margins and after a certain point won't provide you any additional benefit. The THX certification means that a particular product meets some minimum performance/design specification for that class component. I think I bought all cables for about 50% of retail. I emailed the seller with a list of what I wanted and had him send instructions for a package deal and combined shipping. Good luck.
post #13 of 13
You need only concern yourself with the HDMI version if you're a serious audio buff imo. Even then, there's no guarantee that the audio world will embrace hi-def discs and their lossless codecs any time in the near future. HDMI 1.3 supports lossless audio, and it has an auto lip-sync feature will be useful as well. Otherwise, version 1.2 has everything you need. I doubt that most people will be able to tell the difference between DTS and lossless.
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