Decent reciever on a budget?

Just getting started on the high end theatre deal.. any recomendations for a good new/used unit on a budget? I've been looking at used stuff from arcam, marantz, integra and rotel. This will also serve as my primary listening reciever for now but I will probably end up using it as a preamp at some point and external amping everything. I'm not so concerned with 7.1, 6.1, etc.. but definately has to be surround and perhaps have phono inputs (although I could run a external phono preamp instead). I know I need Dolby Digital and DTS but what about THX, etc? Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks for helping a beginner!
What is your budget?
Outlaw 1050. About $300 used. Nice sound and features.
You did not include how much you can spend? I have found that B&K 305 and 307 recievers do a very nice job easy to work with good reliability. Look for a used one.
I would look at Rotel and Arcam - both good values and have a range of products that you can choose how much to spend. I started out with Rotel, and looking back would probably do it again except that I'm a tube guy now.

For tubes look at Antique Sound Lab and Jolida.
The McIntosh MC2275 with the Tuner module will get you a great high end system going very quickly.
For under $2K, I'd say the main ones to look into are the Arcam AVR300, B&K 305/307 or the Rotel (can't remember model #). I'm very happy with my Arcam AVR300. It works very well for two channel music as well as HT. I got mine used here on Audiogon for about $1500.
PL 2 is useful for two channel foreign films
This may sound off the wall or say, crazy. But I recently had a Harmon Kardon 7300? HKs flag ship. I replaced it with a rotel 1098 dsp 1075 amplifier. Powering all B&W 805s 803s htm1.I was disapointed with my choice. That hk is hard to beat yet Im sure there will be 100 people to come on here and bash me and what my ears like. Do yourself a favor and check it out. This isnt a circuit city reciever I do know that you can get it for 1400 shipped next day at I am actually thinking of getting another one to hook up a small bedroom theater. I heard the B&K stuff wasnt bad and the rotel just for some reason didnt appeal to me like the HK. Good Luck either way!
harman kardon's line is the best bang for the buck when it comes to home theatre multi-channel receivers.
Of the lot you mentioned I really liked the Arcam AVR100. It has a nice sound, I hate using this term, but it's the most musical reciever I've heard. It was demo'ed with some very expensive speakers and wasn't embarassed at all.
Yamaha or Denon.