Here we go: I’m still using the Logitech Z-680 5.1 PC speakers I bought in 2003, because, well, I still live in an apartment and can’t justify incremental speaker upgrades while fearing bass. It has a mini-receiver with optical, analog (6 channels over 3 jacks), and coax, though the display is now just an illegible blue light I have to cover with tape in a dark room. The sub is unfortunately muddy but the satellites are pretty decent; it can decode Dolby 5.1, DTS, and the Pro Logic modes, so I think I’ve been doing alright.
I started looking (I should say, feverishly scheming as I thought, “it’s just that easy!”) at Goodwill receivers a couple years ago but I’ve since backed off as every new HDMI revision seems to obsolete every existing one if you want to pass HDMI through it, and I’m not really looking forward to coupling an expensive receiver purchase to a TV refresh.
Thanks for the switch recommendation, I persist in using MPC over VLC because it supports true framestepping, and they kept doing monthly builds so I had no idea it was on longterm support.