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...