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9 reasons to replace your home theatre receiver

For better sound, ease of use, and 4K TV compatibility

Feeling like your old receiver might be ready for recycling? Even if your old one still works, it’s probably missing lots of exciting new features. Here are nine good reason to upgrade to a new receiver:

1. You don’t have enough of the right connections

Have you run out of HDMI inputs on your old receiver? You could plug that new game console into an extra input on your TV (or buy an HDMI switcher). But now you’ve got two different source switchers in your system – a classic user’s nightmare. The last thing you want on your next date night is a tech support call from the babysitter.

back panel

The latest home theater receivers have plenty of HDMI connections for all your gear.

2. 4K TV Compatibility

Most new receivers have HDCP 2.2 support on at least one HDMI input and one output. This is necessary to pass copy-protected 4K video content to your new Ultra HD TV.

Shop for a receiver with HDCP 2.2


To pass a 4K Ultra HD TV signal, your receiver needs to be HDCP 2.2 compliant.

3. You want bigger, better sound

Here are just a few ways a new receiver can give you better sound:

  • More power makes your speakers sound their fullest.
  • Better digital-to-analog conversion makes your digital music sparkle with detail and clarity.
  • Automatic speaker calibration dials in the sound based on your room’s acoustics
  • Different listening modes, driven by the latest signal processing technology, let you find the best sound for a variety of entertainment sources.
  • Bi-amping gives you more dynamic, higher-quality sound from your main speakers (your speakers must be bi-amp compatible).

Keep in mind that the receiver is only half the equation for good sound. If you’re unhappy with the sound of your system, it might be time for new speakers, too.  

4. You want music and video in different rooms

Do you wish you could expand your system into a second or third room? If your receiver doesn’t have discrete Zone 2 or Zone 3 outputs, you’re out of luck.

Spare connections on a receiver with seven or more channels let you send music, and even video, to a second or third room. All your sources stay connected to the receiver in your living room.

Keep your old receiver handy, and you can use it for better sound in your second video zone.

Learn more about multi-room video.


The right home theater receiver lets you enjoy music and video in different rooms throughout your home.

5. Amazing surround sound from new formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

Are you a die-hard surround sound fanatic? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the most immersive surround sound formats yet. Decoding for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X now comes standard with most receivers that have seven channels or more. Even regular surround sound formats become more engaging with virtual Atmos and DTS:X effects.

To learn more about these exciting new formats, see our article on DTS:X vs. Dolby Atmos.


Dolby Atmos and DTS:X make you feel like sound is coming from all around you, just like it would in real life.

6. You want to give high-res music a try

Many of the latest receivers have built-in decoding for high-resolution music files. Once you’ve had a taste of what these audio formats have to offer, you probably won’t want to go back to listening to compressed music. There are thousands of high-res titles available for download.  With the right receiver and speaker combo, the audio quality is on par with or even better than what you get from a CD.

To learn more, check out our high-resolution audio guide.

High res system

High-resolution audio formats let you enjoy your music the way it was meant to be heard.

7. Easy wireless music streaming

Most new home theater receivers come with Bluetooth®. So it’s easy to play anything you can listen to on your phone or tablet through your home speakers. And friends and family can also share their music with you.

Shop for a receiver with Bluetooth

phone bluetooth

Bluetooth capability lets you stream music to your receiver instantly from your phone or tablet.

8. Networking capabilities

Most new receivers have Wi-Fi and/or wired Ethernet home networking capability for quick access to online streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. You can also stream music from your personal collection on your computer. As an added bonus, Internet radio lets you discover radio stations all around the world.

Apple AirPlay is a great way to get instant access to your music if you use an iOS device or have an iTunes library on your computer.

Shop for an Internet-ready receiver


Many home theater receivers have dual Wi-Fi antennas to ensure a stronger signal.

9. Your phone or tablet makes an awesome remote control

Many receiver manufacturers offer advanced control apps. Using your phone or tablet integrates all your streaming sources with the receiver’s functions, so you can control them all with one smooth interface.

Shop for a receiver with app control

app screens

Advanced home theater receiver control apps for your phone or tablet give you a streamlined entertainment experience.

  • Howard White from Alexandria, Virginia

    Posted on 3/18/2021

    Upgraded my Yamaha system 2 years ago. A lot but has changed in sounds since the early 90s. Can do a whole lot more with less. Who ever thought bookshelf speakers could produce a astonishing sound. Turn tables have become a whole lot better. I was very skeptical at first, but it was worth it. Only old school thing I have left is a cassette deck. Some things I just can't part with.

  • Mike Phillips

    Posted on 1/7/2021

    You want bigger better sound you stick to something good from the 80's .. 2 channel for music. Today's sound quality drops because of all the mp3 bluetooth and all the other codecs !! Hardware is cheaper because of all that stuff !! That $500 receiver we had in the 80's to get that same great sound quality is going to cost us around $3000 today !!

  • Chip from Chantilly

    Posted on 1/1/2021

    Crutchfield, You are truly the best company on the internet today to buy all forms of AVR, speakers, car systems and anything else which involves complex Stereo equipment solutions in today's ever changing world. Your prices are competitive and/or the best in the market place. I have purchased a number of your products and always satisfied. This article again exemplifies the excellence you provide as the common denominator! Keep up the good work!

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/5/2021

    Thank you for your kind words, Chip!
  • Sam from Baltimore, MD

    Posted on 3/10/2020

    Digital to analog - I think people have it wrong. A speaker is an analog device. Power supplies are analog, too. Just because the source is digital, a speaker can't move for point A to B point without crossing all the space between the two points. Power Supplies, too. You can't magically go for 0 to 1000. There's a power curve which again would be a continuous analog curve. ( Probably steep, but still analog.)

  • Tracy from Prescott

    Posted on 1/13/2020

    Bluetooth out for wireless headphones or AirPods is a must. You should add that to your features. Denon 2019 has it.

  • Ken from Little River

    Posted on 12/6/2019

    I'll stick with my Harman Kardon AVR-7200, haven't found anything to change my mind yet.

  • Tom from Eugene, OR

    Posted on 10/25/2019

    I have a power beast Denon AVR-5600. It is supposedly 140 Watts RMS at 8 ohms to all 5 speakers, which are only driving the midrange and tweeters. This was a replacement for my Marantz 2325. Now my only dilemma is will not work with 4K and has no HDMI at all. Does Anyone know of an AMP that compares? I have 5 Channel Stereo and cannot live without that.

  • Hap Hall from COLUMBUS

    Posted on 6/11/2018

    I Bi-Amp my Yamaha. Yamaha has separate power supplies which equates to bi-amping as well. My floor standing Linn Nexus Speakers sound great! Especially for 30 years old (paid $1100/pair new back in 88...whoa)

  • Billy Grinstead

    Posted on 12/2/2017

    I always biamp my speakers, using an external amp or the biamp provision in the receiver. Each speaker gets more power and the sound is a lot more stable. With two channels you don't get exactly double the power but close. Better use of power than surround back or some such. Not as much strain on the amps either. Biamping is my defense against the manufacturers insistence on cramming more and more channels (most of which are unnesesary) into a receiver when five are fine. Better use of resources

  • Kris from Atlanta

    Posted on 11/29/2017

    My 19 year old receiver's center channel is going out. I have doing a lot of research on purchasing a new receiver. I find it odd that nearly all of the new receivers on the market don't have HD FM tuners built it.

  • Chad from Miami

    Posted on 10/2/2017

    Maybe I'm sentimental, but I am into the aesthetics of the receiver as well. I can just see upgrading my receiver, opening my equipment closet to show a friend and it being the only box that doesn't have a brushed aluminum face. Why don't they come in silver any more? My Sony STRDA-5000ES looks amazing in silver and sounds even better 12 years later. I switch 4K through my TV, have yet to hear a DTS or Atmos system that compels me enough to make that jump (and I manage high end audio dealers for a reputable brand) and you can accomplish high res with a player that also has multi room abilities and tablet/ phone control.

  • Robert from Grove City

    Posted on 8/10/2017

    "Why would I want digital to analog!" Because your ears are analog.

  • Emilio Mosqueda from Norwalk

    Posted on 7/27/2017

    Why would I want digital to analog!

  • Myron miller from dade city

    Posted on 7/9/2017

    The statement about biamping doing nothing couldn't be more wrong. For certain types of speakers it allows way more dynamic room for quick explosion/higher volume type of sounds. it does work and make a difference. But many speakers don't need it or cannot handle it but there are some that not only can but work well with it. My current speakers at higher volumes will actually cause without bi-amping, the receiver to cutoff or turn off from overload from drawing way too much wattage. I know because it has happened to me. Bi-amping helps the receiver from getting into this situation. And many of the new receivers drive not just two speakers but up to 7 speakers with equal amount of wattage. In fact, most drive 5 channels equally well or badly, especially the better receivers (by this I don't mean the bottom end ones but even middle of the road ones, such as Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, etc.

  • Cat from Covington

    Posted on 5/23/2017

    New ones are too complicated. Guess we will just keep rolling along with good working Denon receiver.

  • Vincy from Johns Creek, GA

    Posted on 4/26/2017

    11th is, you never had home theater stystem before :)

  • Jerry

    Posted on 3/21/2017

    Reason #10 25yo amp just died.

  • Matt from Philadelphia

    Posted on 1/27/2017

    Bi-amping? With the same amp? That's bad info that should be removed. All receivers put out more power when only driving two speakers. The transformer only has so much power, and it delivers it's max with 2 speakers. Bi-amping does NOTHING! Most features listed have been available for years. If you haven't upgraded in 10 years, most of the list applies. In the last 3-4, Atmos and DTS-X you may not have, or even need due to the need for more speakers in weird locations.

  • Brian from Portland, OR

    Posted on 1/20/2017

    It is hard to pull the trigger on buying a new receiver as they seem to be obsolete the week after they are set up. Didn't have that problem a few decades ago. Also it is a challenge to buy over the internet when trying to match components, especially speakers and amplifiers. Guess I am old fashioned and will have to progress with the times.

  • Kevin from Dallas

    Posted on 1/15/2017

    Personally I suggest waiting to purchase a new receiver, unless your current receiver doesn't have hdmi capabilities. I've been an audiophile for a very long time. One thing we audiophile's have noticed with these new feature ladened A/V receivers, is their predessors (in most cases) weighed more with less features. So how can this be? I'll tell you. They are skimping on the power supplies and smaller amps. How can a 9.2 or 11.2 receiver weigh 10lbs less with more amps? Most mainstream name brand receivers are getting clever on how they post the wattage (and wattage is used very loosely these days) ratings. For example, I've seen several big name brands post 120 watts at 6ohms and in fine print (with two channels driven). Show me a speaker that uses 6ohms? Most all speakers are either rated at 8ohms or 4ohms. So if you do decide to purchase a new A/V receiver, look at the true wattage with all channels driven at 8ohms to see what you're really getting. Also, look under the hood. Most all receivers are heavily vented on the top hence being able to view the power supply. If not, look on line at the model you're shopping and see if they show the components inside the receiver. Power supplies are usually easy to see, as they're that big round silver thing usually with a hexagon shaped bolt in the middle. Having all these new features requires ample power. So do your homework before you spend your hard earned money! You won't regret it.