The AV receiver isn’t the best-looking audio/video component in the system, but it’s certainly the most important.
An AVR is like a hub for your entire entertainment system. It’s where all of the audio and video components meet—and get routed to their respective destinations, such as the TV or speakers. It often has processing powers, too. In other words, it’s something you probably shouldn’t skimp on.
Every year, manufacturers release dozens of different receivers for home and commercial use, with a crazy amount of specs. You can examine every little detail, but here are three basic features to keep in mind when shopping for an AV receiver.
- HDMI Inputs. How many audio and video products do you have? Most probably connect to the receiver via an HDMI input. This is the best, easiest way to link up those components. Look for a receiver that has enough inputs and outputs to accommodate your entire setup. Also make sure that those HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.0 or better. (HDMI 2.0a is preferred.) That’s the version of HDMI needed to support a 4K Ultra HD setup.
- Immersive Audio. It’s important to make sure that a receiver can support the number of speakers you want, whether you plan to have a 5.1 system or 11.2. Of course, you also may want a 7.1.2 system, which means you have seven speakers around the room, one subwoofer, and two “height” speakers. These are used in a setup that supports Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X. Both audio formats can deliver the most realistic listening experience to date. That’s because instead of just assigning audio to channels, each format puts sound to objects on-screen. That way, the audio will move more fluidly and make it appear like sound is coming from all around the room—including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, you must have those extra speakers and compatible content, which is available on Blu-ray and through select streaming services. For a setup with a full speaker complement, you will also need a receiver that can decode one or both formats.
- Wireless Connectivity. Even if you don’t plan to stream web radio, this is a feature to consider. At bare minimum, the unit should have Bluetooth, but AirPlay and Wi-Fi are found on a lot of newer receivers. This will allow you to stream music directly from your smartphone or tablet, as well as snag stored content from any NAS devices. Many receivers also allow you to stream services like Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM (if the receiver supports it), all without an external device. Just know that some of those streaming services do charge for this type of access.
Need more help finding out which receiver is right for you? Contact EDG at 732-650-9800 for additional information on creating the best entertainment experience possible.
[Photo courtesy of Sony.]