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
PlayStation Gold Wireless Headset 500 Million Limited Edition - PlayStation 4 [Discontinued]
  • A Headset for Gamers: Experience everything from the big booms to whisper-quiet warnings in stunning 7.1 virtual surround sound*
  • Developed by PlayStation: With the Headset Companion App**, download custom audio modes created exclusively for PlayStation 4 systems
  • Designed with PlayStation VR in mind: Explore the incredible worlds of VR with a headset to be worn comfortably along with PlayStation VR
Bestseller No. 2
Bose TV Speaker - Soundbar for TV with Bluetooth and HDMI-ARC Connectivity, Black, Includes Remote Control
  • Hear your TV better: Designed with simplicity in mind, the Bose TV Speaker is a small soundbar that clarifies speech and is a simple fix for better TV sound.
  • Wide, natural sound: 2 angled full-range drivers deliver a more realistic, spatial audio experience for overall better TV sound from a small soundbar.
  • Enhanced dialogue: This TV speaker is designed to specifically focus on clarifying and elevating vocals and pronunciation.
  • Bluetooth TV speaker: Pair your device to this Bluetooth soundbar to wirelessly stream your favorite music and podcasts.
  • Simple setup: A single connection from this compact soundbar to the TV via an optical audio cable (included) or an HDMI cable (sold separately) has you up and running in minutes.

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
OMNIHIL 10 Feet Long Digital Optical Cable Compatible with Astro Gaming MixAmp Pro TR for Xbox One, PC&Mac
  • OPTICAL DIGITAL AUDIO CABLE: Perfect digital audio cable for crystal clear connection to DVD’s Blurays, home theater receivers, satellites, online streaming playstation & xbox gaming systems.
  • HOME THEATER TOSLINK FIBER OPTIC CABLES: Professional digital audio cable works with multi-channel surround sound, Uncompressed PCM audio and compressed 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound systems including Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution and LPCM.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY BUILT DIGITAL AUDIO CABLES: Optical cables feature a fully flexible PVC jacket and certified production to give you the highest quality longest lasting optical cables available.
  • 24 K GOLD PLATED CONNECTORS: Corrosion resistant gold plating keeps connectors clean. Plus because our cables are fiber optic they receive no RFI or EMI signal interference.
  • 5 YEAR FULL WARRANTY / 3RD PART NON OEM PARTS
Bestseller No. 2
Pocket Dogs - Game Boy Advance
  • You may be answering the siren call to assemble a separates system for audio or home theater
  • You may be contemplating an awesome home computer audio section
  • You may require power for the extra two channels in a 7.1 surround receiver or processor
  • Whatever the case, the obvious choice is the Onkyo M-282 Power Amplifier
  • 100 watts x 2 channels of 10Hz>100kHz full-bandwidth power will be more than up to the stiffest audio challenge

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
SAMSUNG 75-Inch Class Crystal UHD AU8000 Series - 4K UHD HDR Smart TV with Alexa Built-in (UN75AU8000FXZA, 2021 Model), TV Only, Black
  • CRYSTAL PROCESSOR 4K: See every detail with stunning clarity; The powerful processor, specifically tuned for Crystal Displays, converts what you're watching to 4K
  • BUILT-IN VOICE ASSISTANTS: Access a world of content beyond streaming; Schedule recordings, search, auto-adjust gaming settings, seamlessly connect with a host of compatible devices, and control your smart TV with your voice, all with one remote
  • HDR: Enjoy a whole new world of vivid color and detail found in newer films and streaming service content with HDR, also known as High Dynamic Range*
  • MOTION XCELERATOR: With minimized blur and enhanced motion clarity, Motion Xcelerator catches all the fast-moving action, whether you're watching sports or taking advantage of new gaming capabilities
  • SLEEK & SLIM DESIGN: The ultra thin, AirSlim profile lets your television blend in effortlessly
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sonos Arc - The Premium Smart Soundbar for TV, Movies, Music, Gaming, and More - Black
  • All-new Sonos Arc - Bring all your entertainment to life with the brilliantly realistic sound of Arc, featuring Dolby Atmos. Enjoy control with your TV remote, voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, and more
  • 3D sound with Dolby Atmos - Experience shows, movies, and games with the precise and immersive sound of Dolby Atmos
  • Tuned to perfection - Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology optimizes the sound for the unique acoustics of the room
  • Immerse yourself in the music - Stream music, radio, podcasts, and more from your favorite services with the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2 when the TV is off
  • Class 10 for Full HD video recording and playback (Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon host device, file attributes, and other factors.)

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
OMNIHIL 10 Feet Long Digital Optical Cable Compatible with Astro Gaming MixAmp Pro TR for Xbox One, PC&Mac
  • OPTICAL DIGITAL AUDIO CABLE: Perfect digital audio cable for crystal clear connection to DVD’s Blurays, home theater receivers, satellites, online streaming playstation & xbox gaming systems.
  • HOME THEATER TOSLINK FIBER OPTIC CABLES: Professional digital audio cable works with multi-channel surround sound, Uncompressed PCM audio and compressed 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound systems including Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution and LPCM.
  • HIGHEST QUALITY BUILT DIGITAL AUDIO CABLES: Optical cables feature a fully flexible PVC jacket and certified production to give you the highest quality longest lasting optical cables available.
  • 24 K GOLD PLATED CONNECTORS: Corrosion resistant gold plating keeps connectors clean. Plus because our cables are fiber optic they receive no RFI or EMI signal interference.
  • 5 YEAR FULL WARRANTY / 3RD PART NON OEM PARTS
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sonos Arc - The Premium Smart Soundbar for TV, Movies, Music, Gaming, and More - Black
  • All-new Sonos Arc - Bring all your entertainment to life with the brilliantly realistic sound of Arc, featuring Dolby Atmos. Enjoy control with your TV remote, voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, and more
  • 3D sound with Dolby Atmos - Experience shows, movies, and games with the precise and immersive sound of Dolby Atmos
  • Tuned to perfection - Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology optimizes the sound for the unique acoustics of the room
  • Immerse yourself in the music - Stream music, radio, podcasts, and more from your favorite services with the Sonos app or Apple AirPlay 2 when the TV is off
  • Class 10 for Full HD video recording and playback (Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon host device, file attributes, and other factors.)

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!