I don't have any experience with your gear, but I do have a few questions:1) Do the Sony TV and the Sony receiver have S-Link connections, which should keep all Sony gear operating in synch? 2) Did you try using the S-Link feature to keep all your Sony hardware in synch?
Several makers have features like Sony's S-Link that operates only within one brand. For example, JVC makes Compu Link, where, for example, if you put in a DVD into the DVD player and press "Play," all the other JVC gear will automatically power up and switch to proper inputs and outputs, or so it's claimed. Pioneer's feature like this is SR.
In a system as complex as yours, I don't know if S-Link will really keep up with all your gear, but if you can borrow another Sony receiver and use the S-Link feature to connect all the Sony gear, it's worth a try.
The idea with the AV receivers is that they can act as a central controller to handle and connect all your other gear, so that (for example) you can use your AV receiver to control whether the output of your DVD player or the output of your VCR reaches your TV. This gets further complicated by the fact that in almost all cases, the TV's tuner is in the TV or in a cable or satellite TV tuner, not in the AV receiver, which is where I think the TV tuner should be. (If the TV tuner was in the AV receiver, then your TV screen could act as a monitor and just play whatever comes out of your AV receiver, sort of like the way speakers just play whatever the AV receiver sends to them.)
I'll add that a lot of the gear is so complex that many consumers (including me) find it a bit overwhelming and too much bother and so confusing that a lot of the features will eventually get little or no use.
You could use a receiver this way:
DVD player, cable box, VCR, etc. -> TV audio and video inputs -> TV audio outputs -> receiver
In other words, let your TV control all the inputs to the TV, then have the receiver amplify whatever the TV sends to the receiver.
To simplify matter further, you could take the TV's L/R stereo outputs and connect those to a stereo receiver or a Dolby Pro Logic receiver that would take the stereo output of the TV and synthesize the surround effect. For a system I have that is used by several family members and for that reason needs to be kept simple to use, that's what I have. The disadvantage is that there's no true Dolby Digital surround, but we can live without that.
Here's my very simple system:
DVD player -> TV video and L/R audio inputs -> TV L/R audio outputs ->
Powered speakers with built-in Dolby surround circuits
The above system doesn't do a lot of things, but it works well, sounds decent, and is very easy to use. Anyone can walk into the room, pick up the TV's remote, turn on the TV, and watch with surround sound. The only thing that requires any switches is the need to switch the TV to the video input to watch a DVD.