Our AV Receiver Buying Guide

Is an AV Receiver Right for You? A Buying Guide

With our av receiver buying guide, we help you uncover the right choice for your needs. What about 5.1-Channel 4K or a 5.2? With or without sub woofer? 7.2 Channel AV Receiver, but do I want it to have voice control via Alexa?

av receiver buying guide

With so many devices being used for entertainment in today’s world, it is essential for every household to have an AV receiver. This AV receiver buying guide will help you decide what to look for when purchasing your AV receiver. Some of the most common devices used in home entertainment include a television, Blu-ray and DVD players, and video game consoles such as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. If you use many of these devices in one entertainment area, such as a living room, a receiver can help you switch between devices and improve their sound quality.

What is an AV Receiver?

An AV receiver is a device that receives many audio and video inputs, and then processes them to a single audio and video output. For example, you may connect your Blu-ray player, PlayStation 4, iPhone, and satellite receiver (e.g., Direct TV, Dish, etc.) to the AV receiver. Then, using a single remote, you can easily switch between the devices to have them play to a single audio system, such as surround sound, and display such as a television or monitor.

Not only do these receivers have the benefit of making switching between devices simple, but they also amplify the audio output. While many people today have started using sound bars to increase the quality and volume of their audio, an AV receiver combined with basic speakers will significantly outperform a sound bar which may be especially important for people who enjoy listening to high-quality music.

What are you connecting to?

While many devices still use av cables, the vast majority of digital technology is now HDMI compatible. Therefore, deciding how many HDMI ports are available on your receiver is one of the most important aspects. Likely, most households would be satisfied with three ports. However, as technology continues to grow, it can be expected that even more devices will be developed for entertainment purposes and use HDMI. So, keep in mind how many devices you have that use HDMI, and consider purchasing a receiver with one or more ports than what you currently need. For those that are extreme tech enthusiasts, you might look into receivers with more ports – some have even eight. Additionally, if you can see yourself buying a television or monitor that displays in 4k resolution in the next four or five years, you should consider buying a receiver with at least one HMDI 2.0 port.

Sony STR-DN1080 7.2ch Home Theater AV Receiver

Sony STR-DN1080 7.2ch Home Theater AV ReceiverSony STR-DN1080 7.2ch Home Theater AV Receiver


Going Wireless

More and more technology continues to focus on making everything wireless. After all, those wires are a hassle to deal with, and they do not look appealing when they are strewn about your home entertainment area. Therefore, if you buy an AV receiver, I encourage you to consider purchasing one with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, unless you do not use a smartphone or tablet for regular entertainment. If, like many of us, you constantly use your phone to play music through Spotify, Google Play, and/or Pandora, along with streaming videos through YouTube. A receiver with these built-in wireless capabilities will be able to seamlessly stream what is playing on your smartphone or tablet to the sound system and display that is connected to the receiver. Bluetooth, like on the Yamaha RX-V385,  for wireless connectivity, is a popular choice, for sure.

Speakers and Sound Quality

Unless you are a sound aficionado, you should not stress about what speakers you have or the sound quality of the AV receiver you are buying. Almost all receivers will be more than sufficient to power most speakers to a point that they are of higher quality and volume than the internal speakers of a television or a soundbar. While most receivers are designed to provide a better home entertainment sound than music, there are receivers that specialize in providing high-performance music quality. If listening to music is your primary purpose for purchasing a receiver, then you should look into brands that focus on that category; otherwise, you should not worry about the receiver providing adequate sound quality.

AV Receiver Buying Guide Conclusion

It is important to keep in mind that this is a general buyer’s guide to AV receivers. Most households or individuals that have multiple entertainment devices will be pleased in purchasing an AV receiver that has at least five HDMI ports and is capable of connecting to devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Only people that have a very specific plan for their home entertainment area should consider further research into more ports, differing sound quality, and other features. Read our Denon vs Onkyo Receivers article, for a couple of suggestions.

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Our AV Receiver Buying Guide

time to read: 4 min