Peter C., when I checked a minute ago the 876 was shown as in stock at $839.99. I didn't suggest it here because the "$900 or less" budget presumably was $CDN and the 876 would be well above that. If you're interested, though, that appears to be a terrific buy.
I didn't notice that we were talking about $900 Canadian. Oops.
I noticed that it was back in stock and $839 last night too.
Then I spent about 2 hours reading through all 57 pages of discussion about the 876 over on AVS. And I skimmed through a lot of the 'N906' discussion too, as it's more-or-less the same AVR.
It seems to be a very good
receiver, and probably a steal for anything less than $1,000 (US) - provided that you don't have problems with it. Many rave about the Reon processor, excellent SQ, clean amp, great Audyssey setup, tons of great features, etc. On paper, absolutely fabulous. Looking at the spec sheet and reading its many positively glowing reviews really makes me wonder why I'm holding out on the UMC-1.
But I'm a little concerned with the number of quirky problems that people seem to report. Channel drop-outs, sub problems, video blank-outs, thermal shutdowns, etc. And no user firmware updates (unless you do it anyway and risk bricking) mean that you've got to send it back to Onkyo for updates. Sorry, but in this era, that's stupid. Even my TV has a USB port for user-performed firmware updates, fully supported and encouraged by the manufacturer.
And there are a couple of very vocal folks over there who have been through the ringer with Onkyo customer support. They do not have nice things to say. Of course, complainers make themselves known and happy users don't, so the statistics are skewed. But browsing through other Onkyo forums seems to confirm that C/S isn't that great - at least enough to cast a few doubts for me.
So I'm not sure if I'd bite on that deal or not. Several posts over on AVS suggest that spending the extra hundred bucks or so (US) to get a brand new one, rather than a refurb, is a smart idea. After all, the refurb units are the ones that people had problems with. I'm usually totally ok with buying refurb gear, but I think in this case, based on what crazy AVS is saying, I'm not so sure.
Still, the bargain hunter in me is having a hard time passing up a $1,700 receiver for $839.