I say might as well get the decoders if you are looking to buy a new receiver. If you don't need the decoders (or HDMI), I would lean towards the used market, as many will become worthless to the eyes of many consumers. Great deals should be found.
I have no idea what you mean by audio pass thru. You mean video pass thru HDMI? IMO, that's useless, might as well run it directly to display.
If you like Marantz, I say stick with what you like. Why not...
Onkyo's do run warm. Bigger amps run warmer, that's just what happens, simple. And Onkyo seems to have better amps comparatively in the entry level. In the higher levels all the brands even out in this regard. Also, video processing chips make a lot of heat as well.
IMO, $600 = refurbished Onkyo 805. If only for the THX Ultra amp section. People think $800 for an Ultra amp is already a steal.
To the wisemen of this forum:
Hopefully this isn't one of those oft repeated questions. If it is, I'm sorry. Also, thanks in advance for your advice.
I'm looking to upgrade my AV receiver. I'm looking to spend no more than $500, maybe $600 if it's worth it.
I've looked at Marantz, Onkyo, Denon, Sony and Pioneer. I'll admit I'm partial to Marantz.
The sticking point for me comes down to the importance of DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD decoding in the AV receiver.
At some point I'll get a blu-ray players and will want HD audio.
Some of the receivers I've looked at offer this, some don't. Those that don't have the capability of allowing the HD-audio to pass through.
The question therefore is, is it worth the $$$ to buy a AV receiver with onboard HD audio decoding or is it OK to rely on the adio pass through?
There an Onkyo receiver well received by the CNET editors I've considered but several internet postings claim that receiver runs hot. I don't know if that's true or not.
Once again thanks in advance.