Advice on upgrading HT system with 5ch power amp

I'm about to upgrade my HT system with a 5 ch power amp, I've got an Atlantic Technology 374 speaker system, a Sony STR 30ES I want to replace with separates a piece at a time and can spend $1,000-1,500, looking for 150-200W per channel. I live in the boonies and have no way to audition equipment so will need all the advice I can get. Any thoughts?
I upgraded my HT with a high end 2 channel amp for the mains (instead of the AV receiver built in amp). It wasn't a huge difference, especially for movies. I did this for the 2 channel audio side of my HT system.

If I were to go down this route I'd consider a 3 channel amp and a 2 channel for a 5 channel system, so that the 2 channel side for audio could be "higher end" and/or upgraded later.

An example would be
They rate well and are generally considered very good stuff for the price.

Anthem MCA 50
In your price range it's going to be hard to beat a new Outlaw audio. Check out their website. Basically rebadged ATI amps and a great deal.
Check out the B&K line - they make some 5 channel amps as well as 7 channel. Very clean, solidly built in the USA and available used - not quite the wattage you are looking for, but in real world terms they are better then most. Plus includes full function remote and solid front end.
I'll second the B&K amps. Their 5 channel amps are excellent sounding and a great buy. The other thing I like about them is the form factor - 17" face, and not too deep. And they do have a number of models with the power output you're after.

They will put out heat though so make sure your rack has plenty of ventilation. This is probably true of all of the models you're consdering though.

I had the 125 W/C model, and it was gutsy and musical. It may be as much power as you need, but if you don't want to mess around go for the 200w/c model. They're available used well within your price range.
To make your life easier, get the rotel rmb-1095. You can find them used right around your price range. Hard to beat.