Denon AVR-1909 receiver
On the face of it, the Denon AVR-1909 receiver seems like a great unit for someone either HT beginners or casual users -- a reputable brand, rich feature set and modest $649 price put it high on the short list; good sound quality should cinch the deal. Not so fast, though -- the CNET gang ran the AVR-1909 through the gauntlet, and while the positives certainly came through (with sound quality besting the Onkyo TX-SR606), the setup and day-to-day use with the included remote left a lot to be desired. To be fair, the remote problem can be solved by using a third-party model, but the text-only black and white onscreen UI for setup is glaring in 2009. Obviously, trade-offs had to be made to hit the price point, and HT zealots like us can live with some setup difficulties for good sound, but more casual users might find this a hard pill to swallow. Hit the link for the gory details, and give this unit some hands-on time before committing.

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Denon's AVR-1909 AV receiver gets reviewed, not for the faint of heart