What is an AV receiver?
A AV receiver or AV amplifier is a device that centralizes all the audio and video signals in your living room to control what you are going to see on the television or projector and offer the best possible sound with the help of external speakers. Its main function is to supply enough power to the speakers, which usually have very specific characteristics to achieve high quality sound, although it is also responsible for managing all the video signals from the multimedia devices that you want to connect to the TV. Instead of filling the entire TV with cables, you will only have to use a single HDMI cable that connects the screen with the AV receiver, and this will take care of everything else.
In addition, these devices are capable of obtaining the signal from your television thanks to eARC technology through an HDMI cable, so you can start the Netflix application on your Smart TV or watch television and listen to the sound from these sources through the speaker system, enjoying 3D audio and all kinds of formats.
How to choose the best AV receiver
When choosing an AV receiver you must take into account several factors, since, depending on one functionality or another, you will need equipment of one category or another. The aspects that you should take into account are the following:
- How many HDMI do I need?: Do you have more than one console at home? Do you want to connect your old VHS player? Do you have a satellite dish? Finally gather all the HDMI and video sources you have.
- How many speakers are you going to connect?: You could mount a traditional 5.1 system, or go for something more current and take advantage of Dolby Atmos technology by placing a pair of speakers on the ceiling. All that you should take into account when choosing the receiver.
- Do you need a secondary screen?: If you are going to connect a projector to watch movies in large inches or if you simply want to have a second screen to which you can send the image from the game console to another room, certain receiver models can offer you just that without problems, an additional second output so you don’t have to disconnect and connect cables all the time.
Thinking in the future
Now that PS5 and Xbox Series X are about to hit the market, we are in a somewhat difficult time to buy an AV receiver, since we do not have a unit with 4K at 120 Hz it would limit the gaming experience on many occasions. Obviously this also requires a television that supports this mode, so it will be an eternal sum that could generate a significant bill in order to have everything up to date.
As always, prices will drop in the market, cheaper models will appear that allow it and both 8K and 4K at 120 Hz will be available to anyone, but for now, they are quite prohibitive benefits for other mortals.
Main brands to consider
In the market you will find a lot of references when it comes to AV receivers, but the main models will move between brands such as Pioneer, Onkyo, Denon, Marantz and Sony. All these brands offer models that are very similar in terms of characteristics, and they will differ basically in the implementation of proprietary technologies that will offer different characteristics and functionalities from the rest.
AV receivers with 8K resolution
If what you are looking for is to prepare for the next big wave and you want to have a receiver that is prepared for all types of content at maximum resolution, then you will have to get a receiver that is compatible with 8K resolutions at 60 images per second and 4K at 120 images per second (perfect for PS5 and Xbox Series X).
The options available are currently quite limited, as there are only a couple of manufacturers that offer this solution. The options that you could consider are the following:
It is possibly the most economical option with which to get an AV receiver compatible with 8K resolutions. It has a total of 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs for independent displays and a total of 7.2 channels with 145 W per channel. It is a very interesting option for PS5 and Xbox Series X thanks to the fact that it includes VRR (variable refresh rate) and ALLM (low latency automatic mode.
It will have an approximate price of 650 euros.
A high-end within the Denon catalog that jumps up to 9.2 channels, being able to include an additional amplifier to obtain a Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 system. It has 7 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs (one of them for a second zone), and like its little brother, it accepts 8K / 60 Hz and 4K / 120 Hz signals.
If you are looking for the most of the most, you can go to this 11.2-channel Marantz with 3D sound and an infinity of options and connections that will not leave any of your gadgets offline. It has 8 HDMI inputs and 3 outputs, and offers no less than 205 W per channel, so you can configure a set of large and powerful speakers. It is not lacking in audio certifications, including DTS X: Pro, and technologies like VRR, ALLM and QFT. It shares a platform with the Denon AVC-X6700H, so both amps are technically similar (Denon and Marantz are part of the same company).
Its price is 2,999 euros.
AV receivers with 4K resolution
If you are looking for something more earthly, that fits your budget and without so many views in the future, the options multiply, since there are a large number of options on the market that could cover your needs. These are some of the models that you can find in the market:
Critically acclaimed, this receiver offers an extremely comprehensive set of specifications at a fairly affordable price. It has 7.2 channels with 175 W per channel, 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs and all kinds of technologies, however, being a 2019 model it will be obsolete very soon (even more so with options such as the Denon S960H with the same price range).
One of the cheapest and most complete options you will find on the market. It offers 4 HDMI inputs and one output with support for 4K / 60 Hz resolutions, offers a total of 7.2 channels with 160 W per channel, supports HDR and is compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.
Another option to consider due to the good price it offers. It is designed for simpler configurations without too many speakers (5.1 configuration with 145 W per channel) and without too many video inputs (4 HDMI in and 1 out), but without sacrificing excellent image quality thanks to its compatibility with sources 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and surround sound.
Its official price is 350 euros.
* Note to the reader: in the text you will find links to Amazon that are part of an affiliate program for the brand. All have been freely selected by the editors of EntertainmentBox, and at no time are our recommendations conditioned by any request.