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You'll want to make sure your home theater receiver has enough speaker outputs to support the number of speakers in your surround sound system and enough HDMI inputs to support the AV components (Blu-ray player, media streamer, cable or satellite box, etc.) you want to connect. You should also make sure it has enough power for your speakers.
Most home theater receivers include Bluetooth for easy music streaming from your phone or other compatible device, and many also have built-in WiFi for better integration with popular music streaming services. Some WiFi equipped AV receivers work with wireless multi-room music platforms that let you stream to compatible wireless speakers and components in different rooms throughout your home.
Read our guide to home theater receivers for more information on what to look for.
A home theater receiver has two main jobs: to provide sound and power to your speakers, and to send video to your TV or projector. It also lets you switch between connected sources like a Blu-ray player, cable or satellite box, or a media streamer like Roku or Apple TV 4K.
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 channels on your receiver 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 but look toward the upper end of that range. More power is a good thing ù it gives you stronger bass and clearer, louder sound, especially in larger rooms.
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 a model with a dedicated phono input for connecting a turntable.
Most home theater receivers have Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from your phone or other device. Some models also have Wi-Fi, which gives you better sound and range. WiFi equipped receivers also offer built-in support for popular music services like Spotify and Qobuz, and some even let you stream music to compatible speakers or components in other rooms.
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