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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
YAMAHA RX-V385 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Bluetooth
  • 5.1 channel powerful surround sound with Bluetooth for wireless connectivity
  • Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) 100W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD); Rated Output Power (20Hz 20kHz, 2ch driven) 70W (8 ohms, 0.09% THD); Maximum Effective Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) (Jeita) 145W (6 ohms, 10% THD)
  • HDMI with HDCP 2.3 (4 in/1 out)
  • 4K/60 Ultra HD support, HDR10, Dolby vision, hybrid log gamma and BT.2020 provide incredible contrast, smooth tone and rich, bright colors
  • YPAO automatic room calibration technology for an immersive movie experience
SaleBestseller No. 2
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

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
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 .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 Battery Operated Remote Control, Requires (2) x ‘AAA’ Batteries, (Batteries Not Included )What’s in the Box: AV Receiver, Remote Control, Power Cable
  • 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 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
Bestseller 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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Sony STR-AN1000 7.2 CH Surround Sound Home Theater 8K A/V Receiver: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX, Bluetooth, WiFi, Google Chromecast, Spotify connect, Apple AirPlay, HDMI 2.1
  • 7.2-channel A/V Receiver (165 W 6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%).Power Requirement : 120V 60Hz. Power Consumption : 240W.
  • 8K & 4K/120 HDMI Connectivity with HDMI 2.1 support (6-in/2-out)
  • Supports Dolby Atmos & DTS:X object-based sound decoding
  • Immersive audio with Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX and 360 Spatial Sound Mapping
  • Supports today’s leading HDR formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma, and IMAX Enhanced.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Yamaha YHT-5960U Home Theater System with 8K HDMI and MusicCast
  • 5.1-channel 80-Watt powerful surround sound system
  • 4K60, 4K120AB and 8K60B HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (4 in/1 out)
  • Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and BT.2020
  • Supports enhanced media and gaming - ALLM, VRR
  • YPAO automatic room calibration

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Denon AVR-S770H 7.2 Ch Home Theater Receiver (2023 Model) - 8K UHD HDMI Receiver (75W X 7), Wireless Streaming via Built-in HEOS, Bluetooth & Wi-Fi, Dolby TrueHD, DTS Neural:X & DTS:X Surround Sound
  • HI-RESOLUTION 3D AUDIO & CINEMATIC 8K VIDEO - With 8K/60Hz & 4K/120 pass-through, the Denon AVR-S770H (75W X 7) delivers pristine 8K picture quality, while Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround & DTS Neural:X upmixer offer 3D heightened realism for legacy content
  • GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR 8K TV - This home theater receiver supports the latest, advanced video formats like HDR10+, HLG, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dynamic HDR. The Denon receiver also supports VRR, ALLM, QFT, and more for seamless, lag-free gaming
  • UPGRADE YOUR HOME THEATER - With Dolby Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X, the AV receiver can create overhead sound in a 7.1, 5.1, or 2.1 speaker setup without height speakers. Get room-filling audio in a 7.2 or 5.2.2 setup with Dolby Atmos & DTS: X
  • EXTEND THE REACH OF YOUR MUSIC TO ANY ROOM - With this home audio receiver, you can create a multi-room surround sound system. Stream music via built-in HEOS, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, and get Hi-Fi audio around your home with Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL, and more
  • FULL VOICE CONTROL COMPATIBILITY WITH ALEXA & OTHER MAJOR VOICE AGENTS lets you sit back and enjoy music without having to reach out for the remote Adjust the volume, skip or change the track, or switch between the inputs absolutely hands-free
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sony STR-AN1000 7.2 CH Surround Sound Home Theater 8K A/V Receiver: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX, Bluetooth, WiFi, Google Chromecast, Spotify connect, Apple AirPlay, HDMI 2.1
  • 7.2-channel A/V Receiver (165 W 6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%).Power Requirement : 120V 60Hz. Power Consumption : 240W.
  • 8K & 4K/120 HDMI Connectivity with HDMI 2.1 support (6-in/2-out)
  • Supports Dolby Atmos & DTS:X object-based sound decoding
  • Immersive audio with Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX and 360 Spatial Sound Mapping
  • Supports today’s leading HDR formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma, and IMAX Enhanced.

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

Richard has always been immersed in the realm of creativity. Not only has he mastered various musical instruments and delved into the composition of cinematic pieces that evoke profound emotions, but he also boasts a rich background as an audio engineer with over 15 years experience.Before establishing ColorViewfinder, Richard lent his expertise to multinational corporations, assisting them in their audio endeavors. Although he may not claim to be an expert in every artistic domain, his commitment to continuous learning and innovation remains unwavering.An audiophile at heart, Richard relishes the opportunity to experiment with the latest audio technology, from home theater receivers and hi-fi systems to soundbars and earphones. His dedication is to sound and maintain an unbiased stance, always prioritizing the audience's experience.