I was able to find a Sony BDP-S500 yesterday at Circuit City. Because it was a discontinued display model I was able to get it for $200, an even swap for the Samsung BD-P1500! It has the analog 5.1 channel outputs and so for the first time in its long life, my old Sony receiver is processing audio through its analog 5.1 channel inputs.
I've got a BD with DTS-HD audio, and another with TrueHD audio, so I was able to do some listening. I do believe I'm getting the uncompressed audio for both formats, but I still want to do some more listening before I can be sure. I'd like to find a test BD that I could use to do some testing of the audio levels.
It appears to me as though I should be getting the uncompressed audio based on the information given on page 48 of the owner's manual, which can be found at[Link: docs.sony.com]
For those who might be researching the issues that've been discussed in this thread, here's a nice article by Alan Lofft, called "Blu-ray Audio Formats Explained". Currently, it can be found at[Link: forum.ecoustics.com]
One of the drawbacks of the analog connections is the possibility that the relative volumes of the speakers may not be adjustable. In my case, I can adjust the left/right balance for both the front pair of speakers, and the rear pair of speakers. I cannot, however, adjust the volume of the front speakers relative to the rear speakers. (I don't use a center speaker, and the sub-woofer has it's one volume knob). Right now, the volume of the front speakers is too high compared to the rear speakers, and I guess one way for me to fix that would be to add some resistance to two of the cables connecting the BD player to the receiver.
To anyone else who's trying to make this scheme work, check to see if the relative volume levels can be adjusted at either the source (the BD player) or the receiver.
During the coming months I'll be keeping my eye out for a good price on a new receiver. Something that'll handle the audio through the HDMI, and possibly also do upconverting of video.