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...

Why Not to Buy Your Home Entertainment System Online

It’s the day your surround system that you purchased online is to arrive, “somewhere between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.” At 5:30, the delivery guy finally drops your system off and bolts, leaving you to find the box cutter. As you begin unpacking, you ponder where to best place your speakers and how on earth you are going to hide the speaker wires that run from each speaker to the receiver. A little overwhelmed, you open the last box and are shocked to find the subwoofer is punctured. Did you read the return and service policy from your online retailer? Who is going to pay to ship this 95-pound behemoth back to the manufacturer, and who will pay to have a new one shipped to you? Using a reputable independent retailer or custom installer allows you to sidestep all these headaches and more. Here, you’ll find our top reasons to buy from a brick-and-mortar retailer versus an online electronics retailer. See. Feel. Touch. Walking into an electronics showroom, you instantly “get it,”—seeing all of the components in one place—eliminating the uncertainty of what an A/V experience might be like. Shopping online doesn’t offer the true demonstration experience you should have before deciding on what products to buy for your space. For example, with an independent A/V retailer, you can compare TVs firsthand, demo a speaker system, or decide which projector you like best. You wouldn’t purchase a car without a test drive; why should it be any different for an electronics purchase? Leave the research to the experts If you have ever shopped online, you know that a considerable...