Home Theater Receiver Buying Guide

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It is not enough to just buy a home theater receiver. You should make sure it suits your needs before you buy one.

Home Theater Receiver Buying Guide

There are many things that you need to look at when deciding on which system to purchase, and this article will go over the

Top 10 Things That Any Consumer Should Look for Before Buying a Home Theater Receiver

1) Speakers

The first thing you want to do is take into consideration what type of speakers are included with the receiver. If you have an older television or stereo system, then chances are good that they won’t be able to support all of the different speaker types needed for surround sound so if this is the case then it would be wise to choose a unit with speakers already installed in them as well as input options for additional speakers to be added later on.

Must Read: Best Stereo Receiver

2) Power amp section

Another feature that you should look for before purchasing your home theater receiver is the power amps. When it comes to power amps, they are measured in watts per channel (WPC). So if you want a powerful system then make sure to choose one with 50 WPC at least, but preferably go for something closer to 200 Watts or more to ensure you get enough volume out of your speakers.

Bestseller No. 1
Sony STR-DH790 7.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver: 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos & Bluetooth Black
  • CINEMATIC SOUND AT HOME: Enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and more with theater like sound in the comfort of your home
  • BREATHTAKING AUDIO: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver multi-dimensional and object-based surround sound
  • STUNNING 4K QUALITY: 4K HDR pass through with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Hybrid Log Gamma provides greater and clearer color, contrast, and brightness
  • GET CONNECTED: 4 in/1 out HDMI each and 1 optical / 1 coaxial digital and analog audio connections
  • AUTO CALIBRATION: Advanced D.C.A.C. analyzes and adjusts the audio for optimal sound in every room
SaleBestseller No. 2
Pyle 7.1-Channel Hi-Fi Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier - 2000 Watt AV Home Theater Speaker Subwoofer Surround Sound Receiver w/ Radio, USB, RCA, HDMI, MIC IN, Supports 4K UHD TV, 3D, Blu-Ray - PT796BT
  • 7.1 CHANNEL: The Pyle 7.1 Channel Hi-Fi Home Theater Receiver is perfect for your home entertainment system. Gives you 2000 watts peak power to be used for speakers and subwoofers w/ 4-16 ohms impedance, lets you enjoy high quality amplified audio
  • BLUETOOTH-COMPATIBLE: The professional integrated high powered stereo receiver is equipped w/ bluetooth wireless music streaming. Works with today’s latest devices including smart phones, iPhone, iPad and computers with hassle-free receiver pairing
  • 4K UHD TV SUPPORT: The AV digital amp box is equipped w/ 4K ultra HD TV, 3D and Blu-Ray video pass-through support w/ dedicated RCA subwoofer output. Connect & stream audio/video from external devices via USB, RCA, HDMI, optical/coaxial digital audio
  • EQ CONTROLS: The home amplifier with bluetooth has 2 ¼” mic inputs with independent input source selection. Equipped w/ next gen audio DSP sound processing technology and controls for echo, bass, treble, microphone and volume adjustments
  • DIGITAL VFD DISPLAY: The home theater surround sound receiver system has built-in VFD display & AM/FM radio. Features front panel control center & integrated over current, short circuit & over-voltage protection. Includes remote control & power cable

3) Home automation features

This is an optional feature that newer systems have come equipped with these days, but it is still something that many consumers look for when making their final decision on what home theater receiver they would like to purchase. So just know that some units don’t come with this feature but most do, and if you want it then make sure to purchase one that does.

4) 5.1/7.1 support

Most new home theater receivers support both 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, but there are still some older systems on the market that only support either one or the other (but not both). So knowing which is your preference before purchasing your new system will save you time when making your decision later on when buying a unit that supports all of these levels of surround sound types if possible.

Bestseller No. 1
Sony STR-DH790 7.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver: 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos & Bluetooth Black
  • CINEMATIC SOUND AT HOME: Enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and more with theater like sound in the comfort of your home
  • BREATHTAKING AUDIO: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver multi-dimensional and object-based surround sound
  • STUNNING 4K QUALITY: 4K HDR pass through with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Hybrid Log Gamma provides greater and clearer color, contrast, and brightness
  • GET CONNECTED: 4 in/1 out HDMI each and 1 optical / 1 coaxial digital and analog audio connections
  • AUTO CALIBRATION: Advanced D.C.A.C. analyzes and adjusts the audio for optimal sound in every room
SaleBestseller No. 2
Pyle 7.1-Channel Hi-Fi Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier - 2000 Watt AV Home Theater Speaker Subwoofer Surround Sound Receiver w/ Radio, USB, RCA, HDMI, MIC IN, Supports 4K UHD TV, 3D, Blu-Ray - PT796BT
  • 7.1 CHANNEL: The Pyle 7.1 Channel Hi-Fi Home Theater Receiver is perfect for your home entertainment system. Gives you 2000 watts peak power to be used for speakers and subwoofers w/ 4-16 ohms impedance, lets you enjoy high quality amplified audio
  • BLUETOOTH-COMPATIBLE: The professional integrated high powered stereo receiver is equipped w/ bluetooth wireless music streaming. Works with today’s latest devices including smart phones, iPhone, iPad and computers with hassle-free receiver pairing
  • 4K UHD TV SUPPORT: The AV digital amp box is equipped w/ 4K ultra HD TV, 3D and Blu-Ray video pass-through support w/ dedicated RCA subwoofer output. Connect & stream audio/video from external devices via USB, RCA, HDMI, optical/coaxial digital audio
  • EQ CONTROLS: The home amplifier with bluetooth has 2 ¼” mic inputs with independent input source selection. Equipped w/ next gen audio DSP sound processing technology and controls for echo, bass, treble, microphone and volume adjustments
  • DIGITAL VFD DISPLAY: The home theater surround sound receiver system has built-in VFD display & AM/FM radio. Features front panel control center & integrated over current, short circuit & over-voltage protection. Includes remote control & power cable

5) Custom installation features

If you plan to install your receiver in an entertainment center or somewhere else where access behind the receiver will be limited, then it might be wise to choose a unit that has features to help you if you need to change certain settings from time to time. Common examples of this are removable faceplates, color-coded connectors, and detachable control knobs.

6) HDMI input/output ports

This feature is another one that’s not necessary but it can be very nice if your home theater receiver comes equipped with them because it will allow you to play high-definition content for both video and audio (if your TV supports these types of signals). So while many people don’t necessarily need this feature, having the ability to take full advantage of your HDTV might make this one worth considering when compared to other units that do not offer HDMI or outputs on their receivers.

Must Read: Top 5 7.2 AV Receivers

7) Component video input/output ports

These types of connections are a great way to connect older systems or analog devices to your home theater receiver. This is because component video cables carry both video and audio signals which makes it an essential cable for connecting legacy equipment such as VCRs, LaserDisc players, etc… But this cable does not support high-definition content so if you have an HDTV then there’s a very good chance that you won’t need these types of ports since your TV should already come equipped with plenty of them.

Bestseller No. 1
Denon AVR-S760H 7.2-Channel Home Theater AV Receiver 8K Video Ultra HD 4K/120 - (New 2021)
  • UNPRECEDENTED REALISM AND NEW FEATURES – eARC and heightened sound effects with Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology. Be it the sound of a helicopter or torrential rains, it’ll sound so real, you'll think it's happening right above you
  • 7.2 channel, 75w (2 channel driven)
  • 6 HDMI inputs / 1 HDMI 2.1 output / Phono input
  • 3 dedicated HDMI 2.1 inputs with 8k up scaling on all inputs
  • Support for most voice assistants (Google, Alexa and Siri)
Bestseller No. 2
Onkyo HT-S3910 Home Audio Theater Receiver and Speaker Package, Front/Center Speaker, 4 Surround Speakers, Subwoofer and Receiver, 4K Ultra HD (2019 Model)
  • COMPLETE SOUND. Take at-home movie nights from dull to dramatic: 1 Front/Center Speaker: Full-Range, Acoustic-Suspension, 4 Surround Speakers: Full-Range, Acoustic Suspension, 1 Subwoofer: Bass reflex and 1 Receiver: 4K/60p video and HDR.
  • BLUETOOTH COMPATIBLE. Seamlessly connect your phone, tablet or PC and stream to the receiver with Bluetooth Wireless Technology. This smart receiver remembers your device and starts playback whenever it detects an incoming Bluetooth audio stream.
  • DTS PLAYBACK. Dolby Atmos and DTS formats provide advanced sound mapping so effects move from speaker to speaker around the room, wrapping in the films and games. You can also enjoy your 3D speaker layout with classic titles.
  • DOLBY ATMOS. Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer provides an immersive listening experience, creating a virtual surround and height effect without employing additional surround or height speakers. 5.2.2-ch Dolby Atmos.
  • FEATURES. Support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) video, 4K/60p and HDR (HDR10, hlg, Dolby vision, BT.2020). Discrete high-current analog amp system with 4-Ohm drive capability. 155 watts per Channel.

8) Surround sound decoders

If you plan on watching a lot of Blu-ray discs then it would be wise to choose a system that supports decoding for sound formats like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-MA, or any that are compatible with your movies of choice. This will ensure that decoding is done properly for audio signals when it comes to surround mixes.

9) Speaker size/type support

If you want to be able to connect full-sized speakers and high-power subwoofers then look for a unit that has multiple speaker terminals and not just one since many do come with just the standard binding post for this purpose. So just know that if you need more than one set of terminals, then purchase a receiver that has them built-in or get an external AMP (like the SONY TA-DA9000ES Digital Audio Control AMP) so you can use more than one set of speakers.

Read: Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A Review

10) Formats supported (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc…)

Since there are so many sound formats out there on the market you will need to make sure that your receiver is compatible with the ones you want to use. If not then it might be a good idea to purchase a universal player like this one: SONY BDP-S790 1080p 3D Blu-ray Disc Player and attach it to your receiver if possible or get another model that does support decoding for these formats. The choice is yours but just know that before committing to any unit that supports only certain types of the most popular listening formats such as Dolby Digital and DTS over others like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA in which the latter is referred to as lossless audio formats.

Bestseller No. 1
Sony STR-DH790 7.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver: 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos & Bluetooth Black
  • CINEMATIC SOUND AT HOME: Enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and more with theater like sound in the comfort of your home
  • BREATHTAKING AUDIO: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver multi-dimensional and object-based surround sound
  • STUNNING 4K QUALITY: 4K HDR pass through with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Hybrid Log Gamma provides greater and clearer color, contrast, and brightness
  • GET CONNECTED: 4 in/1 out HDMI each and 1 optical / 1 coaxial digital and analog audio connections
  • AUTO CALIBRATION: Advanced D.C.A.C. analyzes and adjusts the audio for optimal sound in every room
Bestseller No. 2
Onkyo TX-SR494 AV Receiver with 4K Ultra HD | Dolby Atmos | DTS: X | Hi-Res Audio (2019 Model)
  • 160 watts per channel
  • Supports 4K/60p and HDR (HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, BT.2020)
  • 5.2.2-ch Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback
  • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer* and DTS Virtual:X
  • AccuEQ with subwoofer EQ and AccuReflex

Conclusion

The home theater receiver is a complex piece of equipment. It can be difficult to know what you need in one before buying it, but many features will make your life easier later on when using the unit. The 10 tips we’ve provided should help you make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing your new home theater receiver.

We hope that these features will be of use for you during the shopping process and provide some guidance as to what you might want from your unit before committing to purchase one. If any of this advice doesn’t seem applicable or helpful, please let us know-we at ColorViewFinder are always happy to answer any questions our customers have!

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Richard

About Richard

Over the years, Richard has tried his hand at a variety of creative outlets. While he doesn't consider himself to have reached a level of expertise, Richard has mastered various instruments and most recently enjoys composing cinematic works that take listeners on an emotional journey. He takes great pride in remaining unbiased and dedicated to the audience, constantly striving for improvement and innovation. He is an audiophile and loves to test out new home theater receivers, music systems, hi-fi systems, soundbars, speakers, televisions, earphones... pretty much anything that can produce sound!

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