Chuck_K wrote:does your outlaw 990 autodetect the audio format and choose the best for your speaker setup?
It's just like you said, it remembers the last mode for that particular input. But therein lies the rub - you can play with the inputs to use that to your advantage.
Here's one how I have automated the process for me:
Let's take my Oppo 970 DVD player, for instance. On the video side, it is connected via HDMI/DVI to my Samsung plasma which is set to autoformat the aspect ratio based on the input (that's really the only video setting that I care to change routinely). On the audio side, is where it gets interesting. I have it connected via optical connection to the Outlaw's VIDEO1 input AND also to the Outlaw's 7.1 direct inputs (the Oppo has 5 analog outputs for SACD and DVD-A). On the Outlaw's input setup, I assigned CD to 7.1 bypass, VIDEO 1 to Optical 1, AND DVD to Optical 1 too.
Now, for my next trick, on my Harmony remote the "Watch a Movie" button sets the 990 to "Video 1", the "Listen to Music" button sets the 990 to "DVD", and a special function I added called "Listed to SACD" sets it to "CD" input and "7.1 Bypass". All of those "modes" really use the same source, the Oppo DVD player. I am just taking advantage of the myriad of inputs available on the 990 and my ability to reassign them via the setup menu. When watching a movie, the 990 will auto-select either Dolby Digital or DTS accordingly and it DOES remember which type of DD or DTS mode I selected last (mine are usually set for the 7-channel modes) - although certain movies' encoding will override that (i.e. Lord of the Rings DD-EX, I believe, overrides my preferred "DD PLIIx M").
My DirecTV box has an almost equally flexible setup. It is connected to both my TV directly (analog audio and component video) and the 990 (optical). The "Watch TV" button on the remote turns on only the satellite box and the TV, which it sets to component video, and leaves the rest of my gear alone. A special function I added called "Watch TV-Surround", turns on the 990, sets it to Video2, assigned to Optical 2, and which is usually set for Dolby Digital EX. DD-EX does OK for me even for stereo or mono TV material, so I am not concerned about the 990 guessing the right mode.
The Harmony remote makes everything a one-button operation. My 12-year old son and my teenage daughter can run the whole thing unassisted (unfortunately).
I couldn't be happier with my setup. The only drawback is like you said, the future. Toslink optical connections will not be able to carry the bandwidth to support DD TrueHD or DTS HD, and hdmi 1.3 will be the way to go. That's a long way off for me though, since I wouldn't make the jump to blueray or HDDVD until I can afford a 1080p display. In any case, when that day comes, I could just connect to the 990's direct 7.1 analog inputs if I want to let the DVD player do the decoding for those formats, or just stick with the legacy formats.
Sorry for the long-winded response. I hope that helps.