Ten Great Uses For AV Receivers.
Even if you're not a home cinema purist, there's still plenty of reasons why you should invest in an AV Receiver. Here's ten reasons why you should if you haven't yet already:
⁞If you're anything like us you may have a plethora of devices to connect to your TV. Sky HD, Blu-Ray, couple of games consoles, maybe even a PC. HDMI switching means you can plug all these into your receiver and switch sound and picture at the touch of a button, even if your TV only has 1 HDMI. When shopping for a new receiver make sure you have enough HDMI ports for the devices you have, and maybe even leave some spare for the future.
1.4 Return / TV Input
If you have a FreeView or FreeSat tuner built into your TV then you'll want to take advantage of the improved sound quality your surround system can provide when watching these channels. If you have a TV and receiver with HDMI 1.4 then it's easy; connect them with a single HDMI cable to hear the channel you're viewing through the receiver. If your TV doesn't support 1.4 then you can still take get good quality sound by connecting a digital optical audio cable from your TV's audio out to the receiver's TV input.
You're probably not a sound engineer, and probably don't want to be so set up your system for the first time. That's why Audyssey calibration is built into most mid to high range receivers. A microphone is placed in the main listening position whilst the receiver outputs some test tones from the speakers, by reading these tones Audyssey will adjust your speaker settings for optimal performance automatically so you don't need to learn any technical jargon to get great sound.
You're probably fed up like the rest of us with adverts seeming so much louder than the program were watching. Dynamic Volume can automatically reduce these loud commercials without having to reach for the remote every time there's an ad break. If you like to watch movies at night but don't want to disturb anyone it can also help with that by providing a better average sound level, bringing dialogue up but keeping sound effects like explosions from getting to loud.
It's great to have a quality sound system in the lounge with your TV but sometimes you might want to listen to the devices you have in there, but in another room. AV receivers equipped with a 2nd zone output allow you to do just that. Connect a pair of bookshelf speakers in the study, or ceiling speakers in the kitchen for example and you'll be able to listen to music from your iPod dock in the lounge, whilst some else is using the system to watch a movie.
The trouble with having a fantastic high-definition set-up can often be using older devices and products which don't feature HDMI alongside modern kit. If you have a Wii, an older DVD player, VHS, camera or an old console you may end up having to plug them into the TV directly, ending up with messy cabling and selecting picture and sound inputs separately. By using an AV receiver with upscaling input switching is easy, all devices are connected conveniently to the receiver and the image is upscaled to full 1080p and sent to your TV via HDMI. Not only that but the processing can also filter out unwanted artifacts, block noise reduction, enhance colour.
Due to the complex nature of modern flat screen TVs a lot of processing is carried out by the electronics inside. In some cases this can lead to the image being slightly delayed by 100ths of a second so the sound is not perfectly in time. Most AV receivers have a delay function built in to counteract this, some are set manually and some resolve the issue automatically using a HDMI feature.
More and more devices at home now have the option of network / Internet connectivity. AV receivers are no exception to this new technology and many of the mid to high range receivers enable you to listen to Internet radio and even stream music straight from your PC.
The iPod has become the worlds most popular portable music device, taking over what the Sony Walkman started years ago. But many people still use old technology to connect them to their sound system, a simple 3.5mm jack to RCA lead. Whilst there's nothing wrong with this method, many receiver manufacturers have brought iPod connectivity up to date by producing docks for their equipment. Some simply keep your iPod charged whilst providing a high quality digital audio output, but some go further allowing for complete control of your music via your receiver's own remote whilst displaying a navigation menu on your TV.
7.1 / 9.1 Sound
Many receivers offer more than just standard 5.1 surround sound. New introductions such as a height channel to add more dimension to sound effects coupled with uncompressed HD audio means your film listening can be even more immersive than ever before. When you're surrounded with up to 9 satellite speakers you can really live the cinema experience in your own home.