The Star of Your System: The AV Receiver

The Star of Your System: The AV Receiver

Imagine a football team without a quarterback. The games wouldn’t go very smoothly, nor be very entertaining. In your home-entertainment system, the AV receiver is the quarterback, directing the audio to the appropriate speakers, the video to the display(s) and performing a host of other functions like amplifying your sound and playing streamed music. In fact, the receiver is probably the most important piece of audio equipment in your system. It’s also the most complex. What you need now…and later First, you need to know what functionality your receiver needs now. At the very least, you should have enough HDMI inputs to handle all your sources. Make sure you have your “legacy” gear covered, too. For example, if you have a turntable, you’ll need a phono input. In addition, your receiver needs enough surround channels to get power and sound to all your speakers. A 5.1-channel receiver has outputs for five speakers plus a subwoofer (it’s the “.1” in the “5.1”). A 7.1 receiver has connections for seven speakers plus a subwoofer, and a 9.2 or 10.2 receiver has space for nine or 10 speakers plus two subwoofers. Generally, the more speakers, the more immersive the surround experience. From here, you need to decide your future needs, allowing your receiver to remain relevant for years to come. For example, are there HDMI inputs to spare should you want to add a source later? HDMI 1.4 is the latest standard. In addition to audio and video, it includes an Ethernet channel, eliminating the need for a separate Ethernet cable and making connecting easier for all your home-entertainment components. HDMI 1.4...

Universal Remote Controls: Your Best Friend

Have you ever had a system where you needed to use one remote for your TV, another for the A/V receiver, and yet another for the cable box or satellite receiver? Or even worse, there was only one person in your home who could actually make the system work on a consistent basis? A universal remote can rescue you from this situation and make it easy for everyone to enjoy movies, music and more. When most people think about their dream home theater, whole home A/V or other home entertainment system they first think about TVs, electronics or speakers—the remote control system usually isn’t at the top of the list. But the remote is what you touch every day. It’s how you can control everything your system can do without frustration. A universal remote can control all of your A/V gear; no more juggling multiple remotes. It doesn’t matter if you have components made by different manufacturers, one remote can control everything. Plus, most universal remotes or control systems can do multiple commands with the press of one button. These series of commands are called activity based commands or macros. For example, without a universal remote, to watch a DVD you would need to: Turn on the TV, Select the right input on the TV Turn on the A/V receiver Select the right input on the A/V receiver Turn on the DVD player Select Play for the DVD player If you have a remote system that can do macros, you would simply press ‘Play DVD’ and the remote would take care of the all the needed commands. After the...

A/V on the Move: Multi-Room Audio and Video

No matter how long it’s been around in one form or another, multi-room audio/video has always had a “cool” factor in people’s homes. Multi-room A/V means many different things to different people. It could be as simple as an extra pair of speakers on the patio connected to your A/V receiver in the home or a whole-home distributed A/V system running on the network. It all depends on your goals. We can help. There are few different types of multi-room or zone systems. The first is a single source audio system. In this type of system, music is distributed to speakers throughout the home. Individual rooms or zones each have their own volume controls, but the same music is played on all of the speakers. This type of system might sound a bit limiting, and it is, but if your objective is background music throughout your home, it could be the right system for you. A multi-source audio system allows each room or zone can have its own source. Somebody could be rocking out to their favorite band in one room, someone in another enjoying a symphony, in yet another area someone could be listening to a ball game. Let’s add video. Just like with multi-source audio system, each television can have its own source. The sources for the system are usually located in a closet or cabinet and the signals are sent to each zone. These sources can include: • Blu-ray DVD player(s) • A server with both audio and video content • Satellite or cable boxes • A piece of equipment that can connect to the internet...