best AV receiver for your home

If you’d like a home theatre set up that can rival your local theatre, an AV receiver will be your most important component. An audio-video receiver, also known as a home theatre receiver, functions as the hub of your entire home theatre system. It plugs into your TV and speakers and manages all of the audio and video signals from your devices. Because it’s such an important part of your home theatre system, you’ll want to choose the right one for your home.

Different types of AV receivers

When you begin shopping for the best AV receiver one of the first things you’ll notice is that receivers have different channel options. In the world of receivers, a channel gives you the space to plug in one speaker, so if you have a 5.1 channel AV receiver it will have 5 spaces to plug in 5 speakers and 1 subwoofer.

channel set up AV receiver

If you have a 7.1 channel AV receiver you can plug in 7 speakers and 1 subwoofer. There are also 9.2 channel AV receivers, giving you space for 9 speakers and 2 subwoofers. You can read more about channels in this article.

Before you shop you may want to decide which receiver features are the most important to you. For example, basic receivers have simple features including HDMI inputs and can support some types of surround sound speakers.

An advanced AV receiver has additional features including support for audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Advanced home theatre receivers may also be able to connect multi-room speakers and have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can stream immersive audio from playlists on your phone.

AV receiver features to consider

There are quite a few features to consider when choosing the best AV receiver for your home.

choosing the perfect home theatre receiver for you

How many HDMI inputs would you like?

Audio-video receivers have several HDMI inputs to connect your external devices. If you have a 4K TV with HDR and you want to make sure you get the best quality audio and video signal for all of your 4K HDR movies or games, you’ll want to make sure you choose a 4K receiver with HDR. If you’d like to make sure your home theatre receiver can support high-quality audio from your sound bar, you’ll want to make sure your receiver has an HDMI eARC input.

Do you want your home theatre receiver to support surround sound?

Movie directors and sound engineers use audio formats like the latest Dolby Atmos or DTS:X to give viewers true to life audio. These formats are called codecs, and receivers that support Dolby Atmos and DTS can push out the type of surround sound that fills the room with sound effects.

How much power do your speakers need?

The type of power output your AV receiver needs will be determined by how much power your speakers need. You’ll want to ensure your AV receiver is powerful enough to match your speaker size so your audio can reach every corner of your room.

Do you want to access streaming apps?

Some receivers have Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth on board. Having network connectivity means you can easily connect and stream music from your phone or tablet.

Do you want to customize your audio for the room?

Some audio-video receivers have a feature called advanced calibration or auto-calibration. These receivers can detect your room size and help you set up your sound system so it’s perfectly optimized for the room it’s in.

Other considerations when choosing an AV receiver

audio-video receiver how to choose

Beyond features, there are a few other considerations for choosing a new home theatre receiver.

Room layout and size

It’s important to consider how big your living room or home theatre space is before you choose your receiver. You’ll also want to consider how your room is laid out with seating, TV, and speakers. Choosing a receiver that’s powerful enough to fill your space is important. For example, a small 3.1 channel AV receiver won’t be able to provide you with the best output for a very large room. A 9.2 channel receiver may feel like too much for a small room.

Speaker and device compatibility

If you already own home theatre speakers you will want to ensure your AV receiver is compatible with the speakers. You’ll also want to ensure its compatible with your TV, gaming consoles, and other devices.  

Budget considerations

Home theatre receivers with advanced features are more expensive than basic receivers with simple features. You’ll want to decide how much of a budget you have for your receiver and choose the best AV receiver features to fit within that budget.

Future proofing your AV receiver choice

One consideration you may not have thought of when choosing a new receiver is future proofing. If you have a 4K TV right now but plan on upgrading to an 8K TV in the near future, you may want to choose a receiver that supports 8K. Or, if you game on a PS5 or Xbox and you know your gaming console supports VRR (variable refresh rate), you may want to choose a receiver that supports VRR too.

If you know you’d like your set up process to be as simple as possible, you may want to choose an AV receiver with advanced calibration. Some receivers have calibration systems like Audyssey, MCACC, and YPAO, giving you a completely custom home theatre set up without you needing to invest a lot of time.

Which AV receiver is right for you?

With an AV receiver, everything you watch at home will be just as immersive as if you were at your local theatre. The key to enjoying the best audio and video at home is carefully choosing a receiver that matches the size of the room it will be in, doesn’t go beyond your budget, and has all of the features you’d like.

Your home theatre receiver will be the hub of your entire home theatre system, so you’ll want to choose carefully. If you’re finding it difficult to decide between different models you can head into Best Buy to compare different types or get a professional opinion and receiver set up tips.

You can find the best AV receiver for you right now at Best Buy.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag


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