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A home theater receiver has two main jobs: to provide sound and power to connected speakers, and to send video to your TV or projector. It also allows you to switch between connected sources like a cable or satellite box, Apple TV® or Roku, or a Blu-ray player.
You need one channel of power for each speaker in your home theater. For example, a 5.1-channel surround sound system gets five channels of amplification from the receiver. (The ".1" is your subwoofer, which has its own amp.) It's okay to have unused amp channels since they let you grow your system down the road. Some receivers even let you use extra channels to power speakers in another room.
A good rule of thumb is to stay within the power range of your speakers. Generally speaking, more power is better — it gives you stronger bass and clearer, louder sound, especially in larger rooms. It's okay for your receiver to have a little more power than your speakers are rated for.
If you're using high-end speakers, budget for a high-quality receiver to get the most out of them.
Absolutely! All home theater receivers can play music through your front left and right speakers. Some receivers even have additional modes for playing music through all the speakers in your surround sound system. Love playing vinyl? Look for models with a dedicated phono input for connecting a turntable.
Most home theater receivers have Bluetooth®, which lets you play music from your phone wirelessly. Some models also have Wi-Fi, which gives you better sound and range using services like Apple AirPlay® or Chromecast built-in.
Music streaming services like Spotify® and Pandora® are also built into many receivers, allowing you to play songs directly from the internet using your phone as a remote.
What you need to know to find the AV receiver that's right for you.
In this step-by-step guide, we show you how to set up your home theater receiver. Learn about placement, connections, calibration, network setup, and remote control.
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What's the best place to set up your home theater receiver? This article offers helpful tips for deciding on the perfect spot.
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If you haven't shopped for an audio/video receiver lately, you may be surprised at how much has changed. There are many good reasons to upgrade. Here are our top nine.
Choosing the right HDMI cables can be tricky. We'll explain the different versions of HDMI, and we'll offer solutions to some common HDMI hookup problems.
How to connect your video sources to one receiver and watch them in different rooms.
First, we show you how to build a fairly simple 2- or 3-room audio system using one receiver. Want sound in more than three rooms? It can get complicated, so you may want to consult an experienced system designer. To give you an idea of what's involved, we'll look at a typical 3-zone, 5-room system.
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