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devil duck

tech woes

For a number of years, our stereo has had a flaky left channel (or maybe it's the right -- anyway, one channel comes in and out at random). I've swapped speakers and connections and confirmed that the problem is inside the receiver box, and applies to both front and back on that side. So we finally bit the bullet and bought a new $xxx stereo receiver. High-end: a Marantz, with wi-fi and lots of bells and whistles. Indeed, so many bells and whistles that it comes with a "Setup Assistant" program to help you customize it to its new environment. The "Setup Assistant" displays on your TV, through the HDMI connection. Unfortunately, our TV is sufficiently old that it doesn't have an HDMI connection, and although the owner's manual shows you how to connect a non-HDMI TV for ordinary viewing, the non-HDMI connection apparently doesn't work for the "Setup Assistant". Marantz tech support confirms this: "you can use the receiver with a non-HDMI TV, but you can't set it up without an HDMI TV." Why would they go to the trouble of building in non-HDMI connections, but make an essential part of the functionality unable to use them?

So we're now facing a choice:
(a) we could return the receiver because our TV is too old to use the receiver even for radio listening, and go on with the flaky left channel;
(b) we could return the receiver and try to find another one that's easier to set up (although this Marantz was one of very few models we saw that would fit in the 5"-high shelf of the entertainment armoire);
(c) we could try to borrow an HDMI monitor for long enough to set up the receiver (and again any time we need to make a non-trivial change to the setup, e.g. when we change the password on the home wi-fi network);
(d) we could spend another $yyy on a new TV so we can listen to the radio. (We'd also presumably get a better TV picture, but we don't spend that much time watching the TV.)

First-world problems, I know. We could be starving refugees from a war-torn or disease-ridden nation, we could have just lost a friend or relative to murderous religious terrorists, etc. etc.


It wasn't sold to us as a "stereo receiver": it was sold to us as a "Home Theatre receiver." It's frustrating, but one really shouldn't be surprised that the gizmo is so focused on the TV....