Even if you were trying to put together a "serious" A/V system, I believe a receiver is the way to go. By its very nature movie watching is not sonically a high-end activity and therefore the nth degree refinement of high-end equipment is not truly needed. Any B&K, Denon, Integra (Onkyo), Pioneer (Elite), Sony or Yamaha receiver with a MRSP over $1,500 will do a superb job in a well setup home theater installation. The latest edition of Perfect Vision has a buyers guide to various current models. I believe they rate the B&K as the best performing.
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