"Rich in Features, Good Sound, top choice at about $500"5.0 starson by stevemeans
Pros: Upscaling is very good. Automatic sound is clever but seldom an adequate choice. Must make several setups and choose output mode. Great for patient people with good ears. Good with iPhone & Internet Radio. Best with High Quality Input devices.
Cons: Not quite computer and local network ready. My setup has sufficient extra video and sound out from computers to work ok. Using DISH HD as a source, the receiver chooses output almost randomly, often defeating dialog enhancement settings.
Summary: The automated setup modes are excellent so they require some practice to get what you need. Place the mic at ear level close to your listening position. If you have more than one position then repeat and save setups which you can switch. Turn off everything that makes extra noise and run the setup when the family is gone: you get the best results when it is otherwise quiet. Be patient. The process takes a long time. It requires that your speakers are in place and correctly attached. Now test each setup with each input. For me, in order of frequency of use: 1)DISH movies (mostly HD) 2) DISH news 3) Computer supplied 4) IPhone 5) DVD (VHS ... ours is dual) 6) Internet Radio For us, the surround sound features work randomly. Sometimes AutoSound undertands the source and provides rich and pleasing full range sound. Other times it defaults to a thin stereo output. I am at the point where I may have to start taking notes and making a chart. This will be a first for me, I am otherwise geekily proficient with such settings. Perhaps there is a simpler and more reliable approach ... I did read all the available instructions and recommendations before I began. Nevertheless, there have been ongoing snags. After a month I feel prepared to actually start over and do it all "right."
So, in order:
1) Place all your speakers in optimal positions, anchor them correctly, wire carefully into the receiver. Place the receiver close to its final position, but so that you can continue to make attachments and adjustments. Attach at least your primary source, HDMI is best. Attach HDMI output to projector or TV.
2) Turn on the receiver and run the automatic setup. Watch and listen. You may have to make several adjustments. Reversed polarity is common and sometimes reported when another feature is improperly setup. Turn the receiver OFF before and while you make changes. Turn it back on and repeat the test after each change, since some changes are interdependent. Complete at least one valid setup before testing. My setup uses 9.1. Five speakers comprise the "front" section LEFT CENTER RIGHT HighLeft and HighRight
Four speakers provide surround, even and behind listeners. One 250 watt subwoofer is powered offset the right front.
Note: Of course you can use speakers from other systems. But, this receivers requires a powered subwoofer. This receiver's center channel is mono. Take a close look at your speakers, speaker wires, connectors and wire lengths.
NOTE 2: The automated setup sometimes correctly identifies whether a speaker receives proper base (low freq) info ... Listen. One of my setups sent way too much to the subwoofer and I lost from about 80 to 180. This can be corrected in the manual setup mode OR setup preferences for crossover LOW (no higher than 80).
3) Listen and compare. Try auto sound and note what other settings are. Many of the auto selections work poorly for me, often creating echo chamber like effects. Some defeat the dialog adjustments we make so we can hear what actors mumble. Remember to test a sound setup with each of your presets (we have five, but will probably use only two when we get used to it all).
Note: All this tweeking is really worth it. The improvement in sound is staggering. I have some old Ventures instrumentals which are at best painful on other equipment. Adjustments bring out the fine Nokie Edwards lead guitar while reducing the distractions of some less capable support strummers. The same settings destroy Beethoven's 9th. Neither of these best settings is suitable to a modern video source.
Suggestion: This device works great out of the box, but you can improve the results almost to audiophile levels. I look at it like driving a Jag. Choose the challenging road and then work the machine. When it isn't quite right, spend some time and make adjustments. This receiver is not a Toyota.
Best iPhone device yet, actually does something to improve (resotre?) recordings.
You can set up your own selection of Internet Stations, but you have to do it from your computer. Select stations which stream smoothly in your location.
I use Macs, Win7 and Linux boxes to send video, photos, music and other content such as webbrowsing through the Pioneer Receiver to a projected image eight feet wide. The receiver is an upgrade from a Samsung. Every function has improved. Text is clearer, sound is more detailed and defined, upscaling was built into several of the other components, but this is way better now. Old DVDs actually go cinema super wide and appear without previous jaggies.
I do not do advanced gaming. However, our low res early Wii now provides Formula1 simulation that beats my direct computer version. The Wii is more responsive to input, too. That is the timing of sound video and input is crisp and true.