Most of the sources themselves either send or decode the signal for 5.1, so if your Blu-Ray player for instance was set to send that way, then it would. The other part of that is that the content (Blu-Ray disc, television show, cable box, etc) would have to be 5.1 in the transmission, and not everything does. Blu-Ray probably would, but not broadcasted television in all instances.

Are you looking for a receiver that you can connect all your HDMI devices to, or are you looking to hook them up to the television? I ask because even our high end receiver has only 2 optical ports, and the HDMI will not pass-through 5.1 via the optical out of the television. So if you run all your HDMI peripherals to the television, and use the optical out to your receiver, you won't be getting 5.1. To get 5.1, the HDMI would carry the sound, but you'd want to route your audio via optical directly from the source box to the receiver to get surround sound. The only 5.1 signal that will send through the optical cable is the television's tuner. Everything else (cable/sat, game console, blu-ray, dvd, etc) will pass 2.0 through the optial out.

Something to consider, and if you have questinos, I'll be happy to address them as well.

Harmony remotes are pretty popular for controlling most devices. I know a lot of forum members really like the functionality and ease of use. Not endorsing - just parroting.