The AVR-888 delivers a substantial 100-Watts into each of its seven channels, offering additional configurations for systems requiring fewer channels. For instance, you can have a complete 5.1-channel system in your main theater and then use the extra zone provided, set up a two-channel system in another room. Another possibility is to use the additional channels to bi-amp the front left and right speakers in your main 5.1 system.
If you are setting up a 7.1-channel system and still want to use the Zone 2 capabilities of the AVR-888, you'll need to add a second two-channel amp to power the speakers in the 2nd zone. All controls for the second zone, including input switching, volume, muting and power on/off, are handled by the supplied Denon remote, which is the same remote that runs the main system. Unlike some manufacturers, Denon doesn't provide a second remote for just the 2nd zone.
A potential negative for the AVR-888 is it only offers two HDMI inputs. Granted, they are version 1.3 and compatible with all of the pertinent video features you'd want and expect there. You will have to pre-determine your needs and, perhaps, use the three component video inputs and six digital audio (three coax/three optical) connections for more of your gear.
The Denon AVR-888 offers decoding for most current surround formats including Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS NEO:6 and Dolby Digital Pro Logic II. A key feature that didn't make the cut, no doubt to keep the price down was the omission of onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. However, the good news is that the AVR-888 will accept multichannel PCM via HDMI from your Blu-ray and/or HD DVD player, allowing Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD and DTS-HD tracks converted to PCM to be transmitted at full resolution.
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