The Bottom LineEach of these A/V receivers will produce stellar results in the typical home theater (that is, the kind you don't have to be a millionaire to own!), delivering plenty of power and an enveloping surround sound experience. All three also share at least one potential inconvenience: component-video inputs for only two sources. With these filled by a progressive-scan DVD player and an HDTV tuner, cable box, or satellite receiver, where are you going to connect your TiVo box? Or game console? And while I'm complaining, I'd also like to see more than just one or two coaxial digital audio inputs.
Yamaha's V750 has the most going on - and the highest price here. Its extensive array of surround modes and its Presence-speakers option make it the best choice for the home theater buff who's committed to the multichannel lifestyle but doesn't want to spend a bundle - its onscreen-display and upconversion tricks themselves practically justify the price of admission.
JVC's RX-8040 delivers the basics of multichannel audio and video, packs plenty of power, and is refreshingly easy to use - plus it has the spiff of its "use anywhere" remote control. This may not sound like a big deal, but once you get used to not having to point the remote at your gear rack, it's a genuine boon.
With its STR-DE897, Sony has also focused on getting the basics right, offering high value and performance as well as simplicity of operation. As these three models prove, the A/V receiver may have become a "commodity," but there's plenty of room left for individuality, via intelligent engineering, clever design, and real value.
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