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Home Theater Receiver Guide

Home Theater receiver, or also known as AV receiver, is the heart of a home theater system. It provides most the inputs and outputs that connect all of your audio and video components, and allow you to manage the sound of your system to suit your room and your personal tastes. Therefore, without it, you would never come close to emulating an actual theater experience.

In addition to that, home theater receiver also provides a decoding that allows you to enjoy movies, television shows, musics, and video games in enveloping surround sound. Some AV receivers can even access Internet radio stations and the music that stored on the computers connected to your home theater network.

Installing a home theater receiver may seem daunting at first, as it comes with many options, features, and functions. There are a lot of connectors on the rear panel. But by choosing the right connections, along with the proper settings, you can get the best picture and superb sound quality that you paid for. This article will guide you on how to properly connect your AV receiver to your home theater systems.

If you buy an all-in-on home theater system package, you probably won’t have much trouble setting this thing up because it’s usually laid out for you in the instructions and all components must fit well. However, if you are installing your own home theater system made up of different components then you need to plan ahead and buy the right equipment to get them all work properly.

Be sure that you buy receiver that has the number of connections you’ll need to handle all your system components. For the video, almost all receivers provide connections for a DVD player, VCR, and cable or satellite box, but if you also plan to connect a digital camcorder, or a video game system, then you’ll need enough inputs for all parts of the equipment as well. And you can expect to pay more for that extra connection, but if that’s what you need, the cost is worth it.

Now you need to ensure that the types of connections are what you want too. Almost all video equipment can be connected through a standard composite connection cable, but if you want to improve the video quality, you would use an S-video or HDMI (if have any) connection instead. Having a good mix of input connections between the two can be a good idea as most video camcorder will not have to be the highest quality anyway.

On the audio side, many AV receivers are coming with surround sound decoders built into the unit. Just make sure the connection for sound from your system components matches the input connection on the receiver. Usually it is either an optical or coaxial connection.

Also, be sure that your home theater receiver has enough speaker connections to drive your speaker setup. If you want to use 6.1 or 7.1 surround sound speakers, you’ll need enough speaker connections on your receiver to power up all those speakers.

Once you have the right components with the right connections, actually installing the receiver is a matter of staying organized as you go. Labeling each cable set at both ends is a good idea to keep things more organized when your installation is underway. And be sure to keep the polarity straight when you install the speakers too. Each speaker has a “+” and “-” terminal, so make sure that you match them up correctly with the appropriate terminal on the receiver or the sound quality will suffer.

Here are some other important tips that will help make your receiver setup go more smoothly:

  • Have all the materials you will be using (cables, tools, manual for all your equipment, etc.) assembled together before you start.
  • Make sure your room is well-lit, and keep a flashlight handy so you can clearly see all of the markings on your receiver’s input and output jacks.
  • Make a plan beforehand. It helps to draw a diagram of your system before you start to ensure you have all the bases of your connection covered.
  • Unless your receiver’s manual specifically recommends otherwise, do not connect the AC power to your receiver until all of your connections are completely set up.

Following these guidelines can help you to not only buy the right receiver equipment for your home theater system, but also install it correctly too.

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