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Put your unit in Direct Mode or Pure Audio Mode. If you now have audio in your front right and left channels only then you have a problem with your DSP circuit. If you do not have audio at all, then check your + and - 15 or 12 volt lines. If the voltage is missing then you probably have a bad regulator.
It is not so easy to probe into to find a protection fault condition. The fault can be your output drivers- the MOSFETS/IC's fitted for both the channels, Use a meter after disconnecting to check for short in the drivers. Disconnect the positive and negative voltages to the output and see if the protect changes. Even a fault in the preamp stages that drives in high current into the output can shut the Amplifier. Sometimes this can be a noise like a HUM or HISS before the protect works. Faulty capacitors in these circuits also can cause similar issuesand needs close observation.In this case I think that some capacitors are faulty as when the set is put on it charges on to make the amplifier work. Possible fault in the protect circuit or preamp. You need to confirm and replace the specific stages or outputs. If not there can be issues in the mother board, maybe the protect circuit by itself is shutting off due to a faulty bias , maybe a leak in any voltage/current sensing circuit. Also disconnect the speakers and test, if the protect is off then check for short on the speakers.
Sounds like the "Pure Audio" mode is turned on. This mode is designed to use the amps power to dedicate to audio processing and sound quality. It turns off all front panel lights and video processing. Check you remote or thr front panel of the Onkyo for a "Pure Audio" button.
Check the input mode on the reciever so that they are set for dual, rather than just digital or analog. It might be set for analog and your using a digital optical in cable. Also make sure DTS mode is turned off, unless your watching a DVD that is dts enabled.
It sounds to me like an audio enhancement filter is malfunctioning. The pure direct on / off is a sound filter to alter the sound performance of the receiver. There is a rare possibility that there is something wrong with one of your speakers- causing certain circuits in the receiver to malfunction. A way to check for this is to connect only one speaker and an audio source. test each channel first(without pure direct) by connecting the speaker to a channel and then disconnecting it, and connecting it to a different channel repetedly, until you have gone through all of the channels. If you really wanted to pinpoint such an anomaly, then you would need to do it with every speaker through all of the channels to make cetain that this is not the case. But then again this is not very likely.
I would personally just use the mode that seems to work, because something is obviously malfunctioning, or possibly burned out. And repairing it is most likely costly!
I hope that you can get something out of my answer! sorry! Good Luck!
You can try this reset precedure below, but it sounds like you may have a DSP board problem. This is a new model of Denon, it should still be under Denon's warranrty, it has a 2 year warranty. If this does not help, you need to take it in to be serviced. If it is not under warranty, you will not like the cost of the repair. A new DSP board usualy cost about $300 and then you must pay for the labor. It is not cheap. This reset procedure has been know to work some minor miracles, lets hope it works one for you.
1. Switch off the unit.
2. Hold the following STANDARD button and DSP SIMULATION
button, and switch on the unit.
3. Check that the entire display is flashing with an interval of
about 1 second, and release your fingers from the 2 buttons
and the microprocessor will be initialized.
Note:If step 3 does not work, start over from step 1.
All user settings will be lost and this factory setting
will be recovered when this initialization mode.
So make sure to memorize your setting for restoring
after the initialization.