Mark, you got an X4000, right? I spent a little time with the X3100 online manual last night, and I'm just still not 100% sure it does what I want.
I think I want the receiver to take a device connected SOLELY via HDMI and route the audio signal to the Zone 2 audio-out RCA jacks while I'm listening to a different digital source in the main zone. Now, I *think* this happens with the Denons (and the Marantzes, too) but the manual is MUCH more explicit about the Zone 2 HDMI Output and the Zone 2 speaker output than it is about the Zone 2 audio output. http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX3100W/NA/EN/GFNFSYtmyicciu.php
The manuals DO seem a lot better. I don't have any brand loyalty on this deal; I just want something that has the right feature set. I REALLY want to be able to set my music free; my frustration level with the Sqeezebox is high. I'd like to see not just Bluetooth and Airplay, but also an elegant, easy-to-use, mobile-device-enabled interface that allows me to play music from a networked computer or perhaps even an attached USB drive. Unfortunately, I don't really see a lot of information about the UI for such features.
Brian, the SC-81/82 manual
perpetuates my current deficit
it is not possible to down-convert the audio input signal from the HDMI input terminals or digital input terminals (OPTICAL and COAXIAL) and output them to Zone 2
HOWEVER, it is possible that the Pioneer (like the Yamaha RX-A1040) will output USB and/or network sources to Zone 2. My primary use example has been Apple TV because that's how I see the music getting from a hard drive to Zone 2, but IF the USB/Network UI is good, then I might not have to go through the Apple TV at all.
So, maybe what I really need is:
I want to use my phone and/or iPad to control my music collection and have it output to a separate power amp for Zone 2.
So, is it common/possible nowadays to just put all your music onto a hard disk and plug it in to the back of the receiver, or do you still need to have a computer on the network somewhere running as a file server?