Denon AVR-2307CI A/V Receiver
Depending on your perspective, 800 bucks is either a whole lot to spend on an A/V receiver or very little. Compared to the mid-four-figures flagships designed for the price-doesn't-matter crowd, it's mere flowers-and-champagne money. But measured against the $200 to $300 a bare-bones but quite functional entry-level box might cost, to the average Joe it's a serious budgetary uptick that had damned well better pay off.
Denon sure is trying to make it so with its new AVR-2307CI. The Denon AVR-2307CI A/V receiver boasts all the latest goodies, including XM sat-radio expandability, an optional iPod dock, and a customizable RS-232 serial input, plus 12-volt trigger and IR-signal features intended to wow custom installers - hence the "CI" in its model name. More important to many of us, it promises strong performance on the basics of power, surround, and video - qualities that Denon's receivers have consistently delivered.
The Denon accepts only two HDMI sources, about the bare minimum most folks will need today (surely three such will rapidly become the norm even for fairly affordable receivers), but delivers 1080p pass-through on them and can convert any composite-, S-, or component-video sources to HDMI, permitting a one-cable link to the screen. My Comcast cable box still refuses to pass signal to any component identifying itself as an HDMI repeater (will they ever deliver the promised firmware update?), and since the 2307CI does so, like nearly all A/V receivers, I was restricted to the set-top's component output, giving me an excellent opportunity to try the receiver's component-to-HDMI conversion.