A home receiver serves a gateway to an exciting world of home theatre. Having your very own audio-video receiver lets you take in film clips and music in a nice spacious surround sound at the comfort of your very own haven. The receiver can act as the centerpiece of your home theatre system.
Its primary function is to efficiently route picture and sound to the different sources (cable TV, CD, turntable, DVD & etc.) to your television and speakers. The receiver usually doubles as an AM or FM tuner and controls virtually everything from surround sound decoding to tone controls as well as its master volume.
Contemporary receivers usually have HDMI inputs and outputs that allow for seamless video switching between receivers and television. Since receivers are pretty handy for audio stereo and standard TV, the device is usually a good start when building your own home theatre system even if you still lack the Blu-ray or DVD player.
If you are getting into the trend of HDTV and home theatres, then you are also immersing yourself into the world of high tech and mind stirring electronics. Upon simply looking at the specs of AV receivers, you are already bombarded with so much technical information that will confuse you more rather than enlightening your mind. Here are easy tips that will help you choose the right AV receiver for your home theatre.
At the very heart of AV receivers lies the surround sound processor that takes an encoded two channel stereo signal and then converts it to four channels. Most TV commercials and TV shows are encoded using the Dolby Pro Logic. The birth of DVD has experienced the movie theatre quality of the 5.1 channel Dolby Digital as a surround sound standard.
Digital signal processing or DSP
Most AV receivers come with powerful and efficient DSP programs that are able to synthesize sound emulations of nightclubs, churches, stadiums and other areas. Depending on the program material, the copies may have little or more than novelty effects that will enhance your overall listening experience.
While DTS, DSP and Dolby Digital surround processing all happen in the digital domain, the end sound output still originates from the analog speakers. Receivers utilize multi channel 'digital to analog' converter to make the final analog signal that is then passed onto the speakers. The DACs vary significantly in sound quality.
Many modern AV receivers today already include HDMI inputs to accept audio and video from sources. Your sources can include cable boxes, LCD televisions, Blu-ray players and even video games systems.
The audio signals coming from HDMI cables are usually processed internally with the use of DTS and Dolby Digital processors. If you use your camcorder frequently together with home theatre set up, make sure the receiver includes a convenient set of front panel AV jacks.
Receivers usually have line level and speaker level outputs. More importantly, a receiver should be directly connected to a projector or television through an HDMI cable. DVD player images are commonly scaled using the HDMI output to display high resolution videos on your screen using the green, red and blue cables.
For optimum performance, use a minimum of 100 watts for every channel. Power is perhaps the most skewed spec of home theatre systems. When looking at receiver power ratings, make sure you get something that already covers full audio spectrum and not just a single frequency.
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