Getting the replay tv hooked into the various a/v components was the usual holler fest - my wife and I reduced to jello before we got things working in something resembling the way we wanted. The stumbling block was audio going out of the TV. Instead of having to set the Receiver, VCR, and TV on separate inputs, we wanted to have the TV pumping audio back out from whatever it was tuned to.
This was harder than any reasonable person would want
The nicely labeled Audio out always took out whatever was coming in from the antenna/cable feed - regardless of what input it was tuned to. Arghhh! We had to shudder open the manual.
Sidebar - how is it that Sony has such brilliant folks building hardware, and then hires people with a minimal grasp of English to write the manuals? Would it be too much to ask to get an understandable manual?
Anyway, back to hell. The manual claimed that we could get what we wanted by plugging the jacks into the Audio out "var/fixed" plugs on the back of the TV. That was obvious (not).... and it didn't work, at least not right off. The "var/fixed" referred to the volume being pumped by the TV. For reasons not at all clear to me or my wife, setting it to "variable" on the TV silenced the audio output, while setting it to "fixed" gave us audio - but controllable only by the receiver's remote, and not the TV's remote. That led to some swearing. The TV and the receiver are the same frelling brand!
So this morning, I'm reading Ellen Goodman's column, since Instapundit referenced it. Now, I'm no luddite - I have a 100 Mbit house (wired) LAN, and an 11 Mbit wireless house LAN, two replays, and a number of computers on the LAN. But heck, there was a lot of common sense in that article. A lot of the electronics are getting too complex - maybe audiophiles understand it all, but I sure don't. My Living Room Receiver seems to constantly forget whether the CD input is analog or digital, and the readout on the blasted thing requires me to lie on the floor to read it!
There's a market opportunity for some vendor that makes a sharp break with current component plugs, and goes to something simpler, like a USB based interface whereby the receiver figures out what it's got plugged into it when it powers up. The current ugly proliferation of remotes and oddball cables can't be making anyone happy