I'm going to also agree with Exertfluffer. I've owned many different HT receivers, hoping to combine my HT and 2-channel needs and none of them met my needs. The Cheapest I owned was a Pioneer VSX-D850S which I bought at BestBuy for under $200 and the most expensive was a B&K AVR-202 that listed for $2800. Of course the B&K was better, but the difference was not that great when watching TV/Movies.
Between those two extremes, I owned a couple of Sony "DB" bridge line receivers (STR-DB930,STR-DB940), a Denon AVR-3300 and a Panasonic SA-XR45 full digital receiver. I now own a Sony STR-DA4ES and have been happier with it that any of the other receivers. The current (and last years) Sony ES line is a great combination of performance and functionality. I really disliked the ergonomic functions of the Denon, B&K, Pioneer and Panasonic. I thought ALL of the Sonys that I owned were very easy to set up and use.
I know there are a lot of Sony bashers out there, but I don't care! My experience with the Sonys, especially the ES line, was superior to my experience with the other brands.
That said, if I were looking, I would not jump into an expensive receiver right away. You might find a good, inexpensive used HT receiver that totally meets your need, or you might find out that many of these receivers are a PITA to use and end up looking for a more simple alternative, like I did.
If I were looking today, I would look at a Sony ES model, the older Arcam for $500, a good used Marantz 7000 or 8000 or the $500 Outlaw.
Lastly, there are a couple of features of the better and newer receivers that I think are important. I would absolutlely want pre-outs for all channels in case I decided to add an amp, and I require Dolby PLII for its superior performance over the older Dolby pro-logic when watching non-Dolby Digital TV/videos.
That's my $02 worth!!!!