Why Receivers are a good thing for HT
I've been doing a lot of research on receivers as of late which you'll see in the coming months of AVRev.com and have drawn a few conclusions as to why they are not only a good thing for HT (despite what purists may say) but a serious solution for those of you on the fence about what to buy; separates or a receiver.
Separates are wonderful, largely in part to the fact that they offer flexibility and a more economical upgrade path should you make changes to your system. However, that being said, separates are often ever so behind the times when it comes to receivers. Separates, save a few brands like Anthem, are often the pinnacle of a manufacturer's HT efforts and it shows. They are often very well designed, sound better than receivers, and offer connectivity options not usually found in most mass market all in one boxes.
However, due to the time it takes to engineer such marvels they often come to market somewhat out of date as today's technology changes too rapidly for some to keep up. This phenomenon is most apparent when it comes to the video capabilities of most modern pre-amp/processors. Again, I'm speaking in more general terms here and there are exceptions to the rule, but it remains a concern.
HDMI video is an ever changing frontier that nobody can truly seem to keep up with. 1.1 gave way to 1.2 and now we have 1.3 to contend with. Receivers, historically, have done a better job keeping up with the times as their hardware is usually cheaper and can be produced in larger numbers thus making more economic sense for the manufacturer as well as the consumer. The downside is that there is always something that seems to suffer.
Over the years, I've come across more and more receivers that not only compete with their separate counterparts but in some instances better them all together. While I'll argue that the weak link of any receiver is usually the sound quality, mainly the amplifier section, most good receivers come with pre-amp outs making them a wonderful and economic choice for a receiver based separate system. Toss in the fact that you can buy most top grade receivers for a fraction of what the equivalent processor will run you and you begin to see a very strong argument as to why receivers should not only be taken seriously, but may be the solution a lot of users out there have been longing for.
I'd love to hear thoughts on the subject good or bad.