Stereo Guy - Need advice on HT integration

I have a pretty good 2 channel setup around Avalon Time speakers driven by Joule Electra valve amplifiers.   Source is primarily vinyl from SME turntable and Apple lossless digital media from time to time.  I now want to add HT capability for those times to watch cable, or satellite feeds as well as from my Apple computer. I have passed my previous stereo preamp on so am looking for advice on how to tackle this problem.  I don’t to spend much on the HT side of things, maybe a Marantz receiver style of unit.  But  I don’t want to give up the Joule amps but want to keep the system simple.  Any ideas?

You don't need a receiver.  I think you will want to get a HT Processor.  The Marantz AV7703 or AV7704 will do great at that price point.  What is the your budget?

None of the HT Processors will have a phono preamp built in, so you would need to get a separate phono preamp if you wanted to continue to use your turntable.

All you need is to use the digital outputs from your TV, (UHD)BD player or set top box into a decent DAC and you are done as long as two channel HT is fine with you. In fact, you can even do this using the inbuilt DACs of your sources, provided your tv etc still have a normal analogue output.That is what I do, and I think a high quality stereo system will beat a medium quality multichannel system every time. This way, the only expense is some basic rca cables.
Are you planning to use your Avalon Times driven by your JE amps as front mains in your HT setup?

If so, I would suggest looking for a nice stereo preamp that has a HT processor throughput (many good ones do), and using a HT receiver for your surrounds and sub HT needs.
When I was doing this, I found this MUCH more satisfactory then any SSP that I tried. I never found any SSP to sound musical on two channel stereo music, not even "high end" brands like Classe, Mark Levinson, Krell.

For me, the best sound in stereo was achieved  using a stereo preamp for 2 channel audio purposes, then just adding a HT Receiver accessed through the stereo preamp HT Processor loop.

Good luck!
Thank you everyone for your input - much appreciated.
jmcgrogan2.  Yes, this the kind of solution I was hoping for.  I should have mentioned that I was looking for a 5.1 HT system.  I have the other speakers and subs but no other amplifiers.   As to whether the JE are used in HT I’m not sure.  It might not be suitable but sounds fantastic in 2 channel.  If i got a stronger 5.1 receiver/processor capable of driving Avalons in HT mode i would have come up with a way to switch inputs to the speakers.  What HT processors with HT pass through do you recommend?
it's your preamp that needs HT passthrough, not the HT Processor. What the Passthrough does is take your front L/R outs from your HT pre/pro into your stereo preamp which sends it to your front (Joule) amp. If your preamp doesn't have passthrough you can use a spare input from your preamp for this purpose, but its less ideal.

Your notion of driving your Avalons with 2 different power amps and switching between them is the least ideal way of all IMHO.  
^^^ @bdgregory  is correct. The HT passthrough is a feature on a stereo preamp that allows you to use your stereo speakers and amp(s) as front mains in a 5.1 HT setup. If you do not plan to use your JE amps in the 5.1 setup, there would be no reason to do this.

However, driving one pair of speakers with two different amplifiers (one for audio, one for HT) can be a tricky setup. It can easily lead to speaker/amplifier damage if not carefully done.

To do this right, I would think that you would have to switch your speaker cables from your JE amps to the HT Receiver when switching to HT, and then back to the JE amps when listening to stereo.
+1 jmc and bdgreg. A stereo pre configured the way they said with a decent AVR is absolutely the way to go if 2-channel music is the priority.  You can use any stereo pre, and if it doesn't have a HT bypass you can use any open input and just set a reference level (I used 12:00 to make it easy) so the front L/R speakers have the proper volume set for HT.  Shame to spend tubes on HT (unless they’re really cheap to replace), so I’d probably be in the camp of disconnecting the Joules and hooking up to the AVR for HT duties.

Obviously you’ll need an AVR with preamp outs for this to work. I’m in the process of getting one of these too, and FWIW I’m getting the Yamaha Aventage 870 from accessories4less for $650. I think Yamaha has the best combination of features, performance, reliability, and value. Best of luck.

Once again, thanks to all.

I see the general shape of a solution with a stereo pre plus separate HT processor.  The difficulty is whether using the joule tube amplifier for HT makes sense.  As much as I love the tubes, perhaps best to think of a transistor amp that matches well with the Avalons for 2 channel and will also serve as HT main amplifiers.  In my family, I cannot see switching between amps a viable solution.

Since you need a stereo preamp too, maybe a higher-end integrated amp might be a simple and elegant solution?  There's a Plinius Hiato available here now that would probably sound great with your speakers, and it has a HT bypass for convenience.  But if it's me (and obviously it's not), there's also a Vitus RI-100 available that would be tripping my radar hard.  Just a couple thoughts FWIW.