Things to Look for when Buying Home Theater Receivers
Buying Guide to Home Theater Receivers
So, you’re setting up your home theater and you’re starting to look at home theater receivers. Let’s explore what a home theater receiver are and some key things you should look for if you’re considering buying an A/V receiver.
The Role of Home Theater Receivers
Home theater receivers are designed to provide superior sound performance for your home theater, as well as simplify your media center. Home theater receivers are the intermediaries for your surround sound system, TV set or HD projector, cable or satellite system, Blu-ray or DVD player, computer, gaming system and another media devices. Home theater receivers basically act as a central hub that manages and switches between all of your devices. This hub allows you to switch simply from input to input with the receiver rather than connecting all the cables to the TV. Secondly, home theater receivers allow you to project the audio from the media playing on each device throughout the house or room rather than having to rely on just the audio from the television.
In other words, home theater receivers allow you to have compatible devices connected to them. Further, at the push of a button, are able switch between devices without unplugging and switching cables. This concept may seem simple and second nature now; however, when you think about it, that centralized role is pretty amazing.
Features of Home Theater Receivers
Here are a number of key features to look for when looking at home theater receivers.
Number one– power. Power is very important, because it defines the energy that can be delivered to the speakers. The more power a receiver has, the more energy can be output, which creates better frequency response, accuracy, and sound performance, not to mention the obvious louder sound.
Number and Types of Inputs
The number of inputs is very important. Home theater receivers are entertainment hubs. Before buying, check to make sure that the receiver you have chosen has enough ports to handle all of your components.
Key considerations are as follows:
- Does this receiver come equipped with a versatile HD connection option for flexibility in connecting all of your devices?
- Does the receiver have at least five HDMI inputs for your video game system, Blu-ray disc player, and cable or satellite box?
- Does the receiver have at least two component inputs for added HD-capable connectivity.
- Ideally, most of your devices will use an HDMI cable, as it is the best way to connect HD components, because it delivers 100% digital signal for true HD video and sound.
If you’re buying a receiver to build your home theater, then you’re going to want multichannel surround sound. The first part represents the number of different channels– think speakers– that a receiver can output to. Some home theater receivers can send signals up to five speakers, plus one or more subwoofers.
Speakers and Channels
Five speakers plus one sub means a 5.1 system. Some receivers can drive up to seven speakers plus one or two subs (7.1) or (7.2). The sub represents the low frequency channel, which requires a specialized speaker known as the sub woofer. More speakers mean a fuller experience. Most movies on disk are 5.1, but the market is always moving up. For example, an increasing number of Blu-ray soundtracks contain channels of information. So a channel is not a frivolous item, especially for the movie lover. If you’re looking to distribute audio independently to a second room, many premium receivers feature this useful capability. Beware of potential hardware limitations with some multi-receivers. For example, a channel receiver may only support a speaker set up when providing stereo sound to a second room.
The speakers are the voice of the system, and there is no substitute for an in-person listening session with content that you frequently enjoy. Music fans, bring music to listen to. Movie lovers, bring a selection that you are familiar with, sonically speaking. Another rule of thumb is that, generally speaking, larger speakers usually sound better than smaller size speakers.
Upscaling Video Features
In today’s digital era, you’ll also want to look for a couple of video features called upconversion and upscaling. Together, these two features improve the image quality of analog connected devices to almost HD quality. Upconversion and upscaling allow analog connected device signals to be converted to digital signals and output via HDMI. This means that you only have to make one cable connection from the receiver to the HDMI-enabled TV.
Enjoy Old Movies and 3D Movies
It also means that you can connect older devices and enjoy your older collection of movies with improved quality. You’ll be amazed at how great your non-HD programs will look. And if you’re a movie buff, then you’ll want the signal to pass through in film frame rate of 24p, so look for 24p pass through. And if you’re a 3D junkie, then some receivers on the market also pass through a 3D video signal, so your 3D Blu-ray movies can play on your big screen. How cool is that?
Connectivity can be a game changer. Not only will you want to connect all of your home theater components to your A/V receiver, but what’s really cool is connecting your portable device without wires. Look for home theater receivers with built in Wi-Fi. Home theater receivers with this feature allow you to easily connect to the internet and your own network access music stored on your computer, or built-in music services like Pandora without having to place the receiver next to the internet modem or router.
Explore Home Theater Receivers
SONY has a number of multi-channel home theater receivers with all of these features. Review some of the Sony models here. Check out a full array of the home theater receivers with these advanced features here. Explore home theater receivers that are AirPlay-enabled. They allow you to stream music from your iPhone, iPod, or iTunes, along with compatible music apps. Also, if you’re a non-iOS device user, they are a number of home theater receivers which also come equipped with Bluetooth, so you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet to the receiver. Your options are endless.
The top features to look for when checking out home theater receivers are
- Five or more inputs for components
- Multichannel surround sound
- Up converts and up scales non-HD signals
- Connectivity for unlimited content.
Check out the best online deals on home theater receivers.