Have 6 channel amp what's next ?

I own a Cinepro 6Ch amp, but I don't know if I now need a HT Processor, Pre-Pro, Processor etc... I'm relatively new to all this HT stuff but the Cinepro runs pretty cool and my experience with Integrated Receivers is they run hot as hell and that won't work in my cabinetry. I'm setting up a family Entertainment Center, so I would like whatever i buy to be multi-zone capable. I will be hooking up DirecTv, Tivo, Blue Ray player, PS3, DVD, etc...to a new 65" Panasonic Plasma. I only need a 5:1 system as everything in the family room is in-wall/ceiling with the exception of the sub. I think i'll need a unit that has HDMI 1.3 for the best picture quality but i'm not sure. I will most likely buy used form Audiogon and my budget is $1K-2500+-

Thank's in advance for your advice.
You should *seriously* consider one of the (soon to be released) UMC-1 pre-processors from Emotiva.com It is a state of the art processor using the latest Cirrus chipset - same chipset that is used by the Cary Cinema 11A ($2500) and the new Krell Pre-pro ($35K - yowza!!).

The UMC-1 will sell for the princely sum of $699 - that is not a typo! This pre-processor has just about every input and output that you could ever need and it will decode all of the latest hi-def codecs. Check out this features list:

Twin Cirrus® 32 bit dual core DSP’s for uncompromised high resolution HD audio decoding

Decoding support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital True HD, Dolby PLIIx, DTS, DTSES, DTS HD, DTS Master Audio, DTS Neo 6, SPDIF, PCM 8 channel (note: some audio formats only supported via HDMI)

Genesis® Torino high performance video scaling engine with full Faroujda DCDi® processing
10 bit video resolution
Automatic Emo-Q™ multi channel room correction and automatic loudspeaker setup. Calibrated measurement microphone included.

Quadruple bass manager with independently selectable high and low pass frequencies from 40hz – 160hz

All legacy video inputs can be scaled and output over HDMI at up to 1080p

HDMI sources can be format converted to component video up to 1080i

Full color graphical OSD over live video, including HDMI

All inputs are assignable and feature input labeling, selectable decode modes, selectable triggers, etc.

Independent graphic EQ and bass and treble controls

0.5dB level trims

High voltage, low impedance main analog outputs (7 VRMS)

5 - HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output.
3- composite video inputs (RCA)
3 - S-video inputs (S-video mini DIN)
3 - component video inputs (RCA)
1 - component video output (RCA)
4 - stereo analog audio inputs (RCA)
1 - 7.1 analog input set (RCA)
1 - 7.1 analog output set (RCA)
4 - coaxial digital inputs, (RCA)
4- optical digital inputs (Toslink)
1- coax digital audio output (RCA)
1- optical digital audio output (Toslink)
1 - Stereo or 2 channel analog multichannel mix down output for fixed level monitoring (RCA)
1- stereo analog variable and independent Zone 2 output (RCA)
1 - stereo analog fixed level record output (RCA)

High performance AM/FM tuner with 24 FM and 6 AM presets
3 - assignable trigger outputs Movie/Music/Amp (3.5mm mini)
1- IR input (3.5mm mini)
1 - IR output (3.5mm mini)
1. Microphone input (3.5mm stereo mini)
1- USB data input (for software upgrades only)
There are some options for you but first things first. You have a 6 channel amp and want 5.1 so assumeing you use a powered sub you will only have 1 extra channel for multi zone use, thats one issue you need to understand.
You could get a another cheap used 2 channel amp so you free up those channels for multi zone on your Pre/Pro, so yes you do want HT Processor, Rotel, Emotiva, Outlaw, and a few others will be in that budget but its gonna be very limited with your desore for HDMI. Emotiva is at some point soon bringing out a Processor that would be perfect for you but its been delayed, you dont need HDMI unless you really want the new HD audio formats that are very limited in release, choosing instead a unit that runs Component (red, green, blue) video may make more sense financially and run seperate digital audio feeding the HDMI direct to monitor for best picture. You dont mention speakers so do you need to buy those and sub or did you just not give that info? If speakers need to be looked into then forget HDMI in you Processor for that amount.
I will PM you if you want to call maybe I can help with some questions. cheers and Happy Thanksgiving
I have an inexpensive 2-ch amp for the 2nd zone and in regard to speakers I have in wall fronts, a B&W Matrix for the center and in ceiling rears already installed and ready to be connected. I have a sunfire powered sub as well. I just figured that for the best Picture/Audio I should use HDMI 1.3.
Is this not correct ?
Yes and no, if the Plasma is 1080p and you intend to watch many Bluray movies then HDMI either into a Processor (like Emotiva mentioned) or you can go straight HDMI from disc player, Satelite and Tivo (make sure you have enough inputs) into Plasma direct then you would go Digital Coax or Toslink wire for audio into the Processor if it doesnt have HDMI, the only thing you will loose is the most advanced HD audio on Bluray discs only as Satelite at this point doesnt support these formats. You can also go multi channel RCA inouts from a Bluray player with a built in decoder and get the HD audio with need for HDMI circuits.
The bottom line is budget, if you cant swing a HDMI processor its not the end of the world and you have options to get around that. I did send a private message if you want some more info.
If you can bi-wire/bi-amp your center channel, that would be awesome. Otherwise, the 6th channel will not be used. Make sure that you don't have a signal into it if it's not hooked up to a speaker.
You will have to get a pre/pro with or without a tuner. If you are new at this, go with a more simple unit if possible. Get a remote that doesn't take a computer tech. I really like sunfire/sherbourne/anthem.
For zone 2: Most pre/pro's will run a second zone. However, using the same unit for this will make things more complicated. Plus, you will need remote IR emitters and such. If you are a novice, either use a completely separate second zone or pay a shop to set it up. I'd suggest selling your second amp and buying a multizone receiver like Denon 385.
You could use extra channel for 6.1 for more spacious ambient surround or I have used an extra channel for bass shakers installed in seating.
Okay, I think in some ways this is getting a bit more complicated than it needs to be.

#1 - There has been mention of using Component instead of HDMI as a cost-saving measure. IMHO, this is a non-issue. All of the newest pre-pros have both Component and HDMI connections. The big difference between the two is that HDMI will carry both audio and video signals. It is a one-cable hook-up. Using Component requires a separate feed for audio and video.

Picture-wise, it's a wash, Component looks just as good as HDMI. Sound-wise, HDMI (especially V. 1.3) is the better way to go since it supports all the latest codecs and can handle hi-res (lossless) multi-channel music effortlessly. S/PDIF and TosLink cannot, they simply do not have the bandwidth needed.

#2 - Others have mentioned that if you go with an older spec. HDMI the only thing you'll lose is some of the newest sound codecs. My contention is that while they may not be widespread now, they most likely will be in the near future. Why would you start off by painting yourself into a corner? My assumption is that you are buying this to enjoy for many years. If that is the case, future-proof your setup by making sure it supports ALL of the newest codecs now. Otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of Dolby Digital True HD, DTS HD, DTS Master Audio, etc.

#3 - The Emotiva *has* been delayed - but it was delayed from this past February (2008) to its imminent release in the next 3-4 weeks. And the unit costs only $699. If you cannot afford this, you honestly have no business even thinking about buying any multi-channel pre-processor. Trust me on this point, the Emotiva has ALL the capability you need and it is at a price that is going to seriously embarrass the competition. I honestly think it has a good shot at being the Home Theater Product of the Year for 2009. Do yourself a favor and contact Emotiva and get on the pre-order list, I did so almost 10 months ago and I'm just about giddy with excitement over its impending release [smile]...

BTW, I am NOT an Emotiva shill. I am simply a satisfied customer who has seen how genuinely good their products are and how well they treat customers after the sale. This company is a rare bird indeed...

Best Wishes,