thanks for your help Mike-Jose. But no, that's not it. I know my buttons inside and out. something is screwed up with the receiver. I even checked the fuses inside of it, and they're ok. So I don't know, I thought that Onkyo will never crap out.
Did you also run the setup (the one where you adjust the db level of each speaker so they sound the same) It should have a static tone on each speaker one at a time (Fr L, Cen, Fr R, L Sur, R Sur) It would tell you if the reciever can get sound to the surrounds or if it is broken...