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Home Theater Receivers and Processors

The Anchor of Your Home’s Audio/Video Installation

Home Theater Receivers and Processors

If you have an investment in high-quality speakers, whether they are active monitors, bookshelf, in-walls, or floor standing towers, it’s not something you have to change or upgrade often. While there certainly are innovations in speaker design, a good speaker will serve up good audio for a long time.  An amplifier is also a component you may not have to change unless you require more power or a better match with a different set of speakers. 

When it comes to home theater and audio-video receivers and processors, the situation is different.  In fact, the word receiver is a misnomer from the days that they were essentially integrated amplifiers with an AM/FM tuner, as they are the nerve centers of many of today’s A/V systems.  Technology has moved quickly in this area, and a top-end model from just a few years ago may not have the features that can carry your system into the future.

Why might you want a receiver or processor upgrade for your audio-video installation in Woodside, CA?  Let’s explore some of the latest features in these multifaceted workhorses.


SEE ALSO: Multizone Audio with Control4 [Video]


Connectivity Center

Today’s receivers and processors have multiple sources of connectivity.  They connect a variety of legacy audio and video devices as well as the latest ones.  They connect to your mobile devices to play content from them.  They connect to external content sources like Spotify music streaming.  Here are some of the must-have (and nice to have) connectivity options for today’s processors and receivers:

HDMI 2.0: This is the standard for connecting devices that can handle 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) content.  The new 4K Blu-ray players and streaming devices like Apple TV 4K and Roku Ultra support this, and if you want to switch video through your processor, this is what you need to be able to enjoy the best high-resolution sound and video quality from your content. 

Wi-Fi: Most of today’s models come with Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling connections to streaming devices, streaming content, content on computers, and control through browsers, apps, and some home automation systems. 

Bluetooth: Bluetooth is increasingly popular for convenience to play audio from mobile devices.  In some models, it can also be convenient for listening with wireless headphones without disturbing others in the house. 

Airplay: Apple’s wireless streaming format is convenient for pushing audio from any Apple device through the receiver, which can then go to one room or many depending on the setup. 

Built-in Music Streaming: Depending on the model, popular streaming services are directly built into today’s receivers.  Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal (lossless streaming) are just some of the options available. 

HEOS, DTS Play-FI, Sonos Connect: HEOS is a network protocol for connecting wireless speakers, allowing synchronized audio all throughout the house.  It can make the receiver the heart of a multiroom audio setup.  Sonos is also lending its wireless mesh network technology to the AV receiver world to enable them to work with its wireless speakers in a whole home environment.  DTS Play-FI is a similar technology for enabling whole-home control and playback of audio sources. HEOS and DTS-Play-Fi are built into several vendors’ speakers, while Sonos Connect works with Sonos models only.


Surround Modes

A/V receivers and processors are also all about decoding all the surround formats, enabling that cinema-like experience in the home.  The latest in surround is Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro 3D, so-called object-based formats that can precisely pinpoint sounds in a three-dimensional space.  To accommodate these modes, which typically require height speakers, the latest high-end receivers and processors can drive up to 13 speaker channels for a truly immersive experience with movies. 

Another critical component of A/V processors is room correction.  Room correction allows the receiver to adjust the sound to the acoustics of the room.  The latest technology like Audyssey DSX can do an excellent job of calibration, but for the very best audio quality, we recommend professional calibration to fine-tune the sound for your installation. 


Multi-Zone Audio and Video and Amplification

Multi-zone audio has been the province of high-end receivers for years, but more recently that has extended to video as well.  The best models can enable control and distribution of audio and video from multiple sources for up to three zones.  With external amplifiers, additional speaker sets can be added to expand these zones as well. 


Let us upgrade your audio-video installation with the latest technology for music streaming, movie surround, and multiroom audio. Give us a call at (925) 525-6105 or reach out here.