An AV receiver plays a crucial role in any home theater system. Its operation directly affects the quality and effectiveness of the sound and video produced by your home theater. AV receivers work with all types of sound & video signals and deliver them to chosen speakers, TVs, etc. Simply put, it is a hub that allows you to connect different audio-video sources with your speaker systems and screens.
Besides the basic functionality, many modern receivers are equipped with various additional features: multi-room, voice control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, surround sound technology, etc. It’s easy to get lost in this variety. That’s why in this article, I will give comprehensive answers to many questions. And first and foremost, what does an AV receiver do?
The main functions that the AV receiver performs
I’ll start by describing the receiver’s basic features and then look at the various additional features. Well, let’s get down to it.
Connecting audio/video sources
So, the most important aspect is that a home theater receiver serves to make a digital network of devices by connecting them. For example, you are a gamer and have a console. Usually, you connect it to the TV with built-in speakers. This setup works just fine, but there is a way how an AV receiver can improve it.
You can connect it to your receiver. Then, you can link the device to your TV and the sound system using the output ports. Afterward, you connect your speakers with it and as a result, you can play on your TV while getting immersive sound.
Another remarkable aspect is that you won’t have to reconnect the wires manually if you have several devices. You can connect your CD player and a console to the receiver. The receiver can select the source devices on the go. Got tired of gaming? No problem, switch to the video player in a matter of seconds via the remote.
Amplifies audio signals and controls multiple speakers
Every AV receiver with a built-in amplifier can amplify the sound even from the phone so that the speakers can play it. Another important function is using immersive surround sound systems. The receiver handles the sound signals, delivering them to the right speakers, and properly amplifies the sound to drive the speakers. Advanced models can support more than 9 channels. Please note that a channel equals a single speaker.
Decoding analog and digital surround sound formats
Modern movies and games are made with various technologies. Sound production tries to keep up in this sphere. An AV receiver supports various audio standards and is capable of decoding different types of signals. Movies usually use popular Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and other technologies to provide immersive surround sound. Depending on the model, the AV receiver can decode various surround sound formats, allowing you to create such sound right in your house. This feature is what makes AV receivers from traditional stereo amplifiers.
Providing a user interface for your home theater
As you already know, the receiver handles the incoming and outcoming A/V signals. Without it, you would have to switch the wires manually between devices. It can be very hard and even impossible in some cases, especially when you need to connect multiple ones. In that case, the receiver has one of the easiest solutions – a built-in user interface. Each manufacturer has its own unique user interface. Sometimes those even differ from model to model. Yet, they all have the same benefits, as they all are aimed at helping to set up and control all the devices connected to it. In addition, most models are equipped with remote control, which greatly simplifies the operation.
Once upon a time, to create multi-room audio, one had to turn the volume so loud so it could be heard in another room. This sounds like a joke, but it is quite true. Many receivers are now equipped with a multi-room function that does the job completely. In simple terms, a multi-room setup includes several devices located in different rooms. With a model that supports this feature, you can have two separate devices playing sounds in two or more rooms. Sometimes, you may not even need wires to connect all the speakers with it. For example, many AVR models offer a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection to Zone 2 speakers.
Also, many modern devices support streaming videos and music via various technologies and proprietary software (HEOS, Yamaha MusicCast etc.). For example, you will be able to listen to music on such streaming services as Apple Music, Amazon TV, Spotify, Tidal, Android TV, and many others.
Do I need an AV receiver?
These days, AV receivers are far more than just a part of a multimedia system. This device is what makes the whole home entertainment system tick. A properly selected AV receiver provides versatility and creates options for setting up a very high-quality home cinema or gaming setup. It can bring life, provide an immersive surround sound for you when watching movies and enhance the gameplay experience.
I hope this article helped you understand why an AV receiver is a must for any modern home entertainment system.
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