Marantz SR8002 A/V Receiver User Interface

User Interface
The SR8002's primary remote deserves special mention. Most of the AVR's functions are available from a dedicated button or one of the five "soft" buttons that flank the right side of the LCD window, which displays their context-sensitive labels. Those soft buttons offer a wealth of convenience and seem thoughtfully selected.

As I mentioned earlier, my favorite feature on the remote let me switch between the two HDMI outputs with the push of a button. Also useful is the ability to cycle through all the various DTS and Dolby modes by pressing the corresponding button. As with all remotes, there's a learning curve, like remembering to press a source button twice, not just once, to switch to it, but the manual is excellent at showing you how everything works in plain English.

Marantz includes a second programmable learning remote for use in the other zones, making it easy to spread the joy. It's an IR model, so it needs an IR repeater system from the likes of Xantech or SpeakerCraft. Marantz's IS201 iPod dock also includes IR repeater capabilities.

According to the owner's manual, the receiver's onscreen display (OSD) is limited to its S-video and composite outputs, but as I was viewing the component connection to my plasma, I could see some basic settings when switching inputs on the AVR. For instance, when I switched to the TV input, I could momentarily see the source I'd selected, the video and audio connection, and the current surround mode. I could also see these settings by pressing the OSD button on the remote, but only via the component output.

According to Marantz, changes in volume should also be visible via component as well as S-video and composite, but they were not in my system. And none of this info is visible via HDMI, which Marantz confirmed. A truly useful OSD would display changes in volume and surround mode via all outputs. At least the setup menu was visible via all outputs I tried (S-video, component, and HDMI).