It’s fun shopping for the audio and visuals of your home theater. Who doesn’t love looking at the latest television models or the most powerful surround sound systems? The receiver and other electronics aren’t as fun to shop for, but they serve as the brain of your home theater. Without a receiver and cords, your TV and speakers wouldn’t work. Your receiver is what will connect all of your devices. It houses the A/V inputs to connect your devices, it decodes the audio and video signals for output, and it powers the speakers. All of this means that, when it comes to your budget, don’t skimp on the receiver and go all out on speakers and a TV. Your receiver plays a very important role in your home theater setup.
Since your receiver is so important, make sure that the one you invest in has all the capabilities you need. To help with your research, I have come up with a list of 5 things to consider when shopping for a home theater receiver.
Your Speaker Setup
Are you going with a 5.1 setup or 9.2? Make sure your receiver can handle the number of speakers and subwoofers you plan to use. And if you are using outdated speakers from decades ago, they may not work at all with today’s receivers.
Some receivers allow for wireless connection with speakers, but these are more common in advanced, expensive systems. If you don’t like cords and wires showing, be prepared to shell out extra cash for a receiver that allows for wireless connections.
Yes, this is different from wireless connecting. Wireless networking refers to the ability to stream a web radio station. A receiver with built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or AirPlay is a nice perk. You can stream radio subscription services, such as Spotify, without using your phone or other boxes. You can even stream stored content from a networked NAS device.
HDMI is the go-to HD connection for most source devices. You’ll likely require multiple HDMI inputs. Determine how many HDMI ports you’ll need before buying a receiver. If you can, get a receiver that has a few extra inputs, just in case.
If you plan on using a Blu-ray player, you may want to consider a receiver that can properly decode the many high-res audio formats, like Dolby TrueHD. The same goes for 3D. If you plan on using a 3D television, make sure the receiver is 3D-capable or you won’t be able to route 3D video through your electronics.