They both do their jobs equally well. However, decoders on DVD players are mainly used for SACD and DVD-A playback so they are 5.1 decoders. Your receiver will need 5.1 inputs to use the player's decoders. On 6.1/7.1 receivers, the decoders can also handle Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES for 6.1 decoding. That's not a big deal because on 5.1 systems, the signal from the surround back channel in 6.1 will be routed to the 2 surround channels.
When you use the player's decoders, you must go thru the 5.1 input on the receiver (because of copy protection), which would bypass all preamp settings on the receiver except the volume control, and you'll need to use the player's bass management. On the other hand, when you use the receiver's decoders, the receiver's bass management would be used and you can also select other surround sound effects, bass boot, etc. available on the receiver. So they may sound different because the bass management's on the player and on the receiver may not use the same cutoff frequency and also, because the bass boot and other sound effects can be enabled when the receiver's decoders are used.
Normally AV receivers have good Decoders(Burr-Brown,Wolfson) which have more word length and sampling freq.Onboard decoders found in entry level players are not good.
For playin SACD and DVD-A from DVD players interconnectivity(with AV receiver) standard will be soon avl.As we now have TOSLINK(optical).So u just need an single cable connection.HDMI may be a solution for hi-def Audio and Video
I am about to buy an Onkyo 502 SACD player which plays, surprisingly, DVDs,DVD-A, SACD, CD, CD-R/W,MP3 and WMA which has a US price of about $300. I am mainly interested in playing western classical music with SACDs that are the rage in Europe for their analog-like reproductions.
I have two queries: (1) The Onkyo provides for "5.1 Analog output" - 5 separate RCA outputs as well as the digital outputs (coaxial and optical). What kind of receivers are there for exploiting this analog output? Anyone with comparitive experience with 5.1 analog and 2-channel SACD sound willing to comment? (2) The Onkyo has a 192 kHz/24-bit convertor which is selected (I presume) for DVD. Would I be right in thinking so? Associated with this is the query of playing CDs (or SACDs) with 192khz/24-bit convertors. I find that with my Denon 1910 DVD player which has this convertor, the sound is hard (but is far mellower in a NAD 521BEE that I also have). Any similar experiences? Any advice? Thanks