I'd add the EAD Theatermaster 8800pro to your short list. I chose it over some of the units you have listed.
Well if you can get by without switching and other bells,etc. A lowly Meridian 565 with the 7.1 dts would be more than you think; in sound quality. It has one toslinc and one coax along with analog. (Run the video to the display) I had the Amthem;---is my perspective. There is one (not mine) for sale here. You'll only know how good it is if you have good amps and speakers.
I haven't heard the other 5 on your list, but I can tell you that the B&K Ref 50 is probably not up to par. I had one shortly(about 3 weeks) as a loaner while I was waiting for my pre/pro and I didn't even like it for HT. It was noisy and somewhat compressed and dark sounding.
I have heard lots of good things about the Bryston, especially for music.
Another pre/pro you should consider is a Proceed AVP2. I know Proceed is not around anymore but there was NEVER any issues with the AVP, and if you buy one from a dealer that still has them, you're at least somewhat covered. I had the original AVP for about 4 years. While IMO, HT processing is not up there with the best, Lexicon, etc.. 2 channel was outstanding.
2 channel was my primary concern as well. After comparing several Pre/Pros I ended up with a lowly Bryston SP1.7 and love it.
I would add this.... Several of the Processors you mentioned (and both of the ones added) perform very well. What I might like best, you may not. 3k is a lot of bones. I would audition every one of them, in home if your dealer will let you.
You're right...the EAD TM8000pro is a bit more but well worth it. I've seen a couple of units on the used market that wouldn't be that much of a stretch for you.
You might want to talk Steve Holt at EAD. Because lots of people traded in TM8000pro's for the 8800...you probably can get a great deal on an 8000pro...which I would still prefer to anything on your list.
I have absolutely no affiliation with EAD....but have been very impressed with their products.