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How to Choose an AV Receiver

  • January 2, 2019 /

A few days ago I was on a call with a potential client discussing AV receiver choices. We discussed many options and it dawned on me that a lot of people probably have this question. For that reason I decided to create a video and write this article. 

If you're not a big reader (i.e. like me) click the video below:

If you would prefer to read my thoughts on How to Pick the Right AV Receiver below are my key tips.

  1. Think about how you want to use the receiver. 
    1. Are you using the receiver for watching TV only? Do you want to play apps like Netflix and Amazon video through it? What about Music? These are all going to come into play in regard to what connections you need, if you will need a universal remote and more.
  2. Think about the video quality.
    1. Video quality is an always improving technology. Today 4K is all of the rage but eventually it will be 8K then who knows what is next. The important thing to think about for now at least is making sure your receiver can handle 4K video switching (although not many sources have 4K content yet).
    2. Another important video component to think about with your receiver is HDR. Can your receiver handle all forms of HDR? Today the most popular is HDR10 but there is also Dolby Vision and HGL which is not popular at all today but could become more so in the future. The important key here is make sure your receiver can handle all of these HDR formats.
  3. Think about audio quality. 
    1. A large reason people get AV receivers in the first place is for the audio component. Video is easy, its already on your TV but if you want surround sound an AV receiver is the easiest way. When deciding on receiver its important to think about how many speakers you want set up with your surround sound. We recommend having a receiver with at least 5 speaker channels but if you have the extra budget, I would recommend looking at seven or nine speaker channels so you can grow your system at a later date if you would like. 
    2. The other important factors to take into consideration in regard to your receivers audio is does it play Dolby Audio and DTS:X. The short answer is both of these are important, they enable 3D sound for your theater. Today, Dolby is the status quo but having DTS:X is important too because the winner is not yet determined. Luckily, most receivers that play one play both.
    3. Lastly, there is a such thing as an ideal room for surround sound. Unless your room is professionally built to be acoustically perfect we highly recommend a receiver with Audio Room Correction. Most theaters or media rooms are incorrect dimensions, material or other common mistake but room correction can help overcome a lot of these challenges. 
  4. The last important factor to think about is network connectivity. 
    1. We live in a internet world. Network connectivity can enable your receiver to play Netflix, Spotify, or be controlled by Amazon Alexa. To me the most important factor here is enabling firmware upgrades. The other capabilities mentioned previously are better obtained through outside devices. 

These are a few of the most important things to think about when purchasing a new home theater receiver. Over the course of the next few weeks and months we will continue to dive into other home theater components and how to make the right decisions on what is right for you. Click below to let us know what you want to know more about.

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