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The Home Theater Receiver is the Central Part of your Sound System

If there is a brain and some muscle behind a home theater system, the receiver is definitely it.  It receives signals from other components such as the DVD, CD VCR, and tape deck, decodes those signals and amplifies them to the speakers and controls the volume.

The receiver plays a vital role as the central point of either a home audio or video experience.  This product, also called A/V receiver has five or more channels to do the necessary processing and signal amplification.

In choosing your A/V receiver, there are certain things to consider that will determine the quality of your viewing experience and your frustration level. First is the User Interface which consists of all the small features that provide user friendly operation.

Manufacturers have added simplified controls such as on-screen menus to change from video to TV or audio with just the click of a remote control.  This on-screen display makes setup much easier.  Another major item is the remote control which should have clearly marked buttons with  layout that is easy to learn and use.  The remote must also be comfortable to hold and lighted buttons is a real plus.  It is likely that the remote also can be programmed to control other components of your A/V system and this type shouldn't require hours of learning to use.  Top of the line receivers often include a learner remote control which can discern the code control signals of your other components.

Even better is a control that allows you to program in a series of commands to be executed by pressing only button.  This is especially valuable if several family members and children will be using the remote.  By programming a macro button you wil be able to push one button and then the remote will turn on the TV, the receiver, the DVD and start the video.

Other important features may be cooling fans, corrosion resistant input/output jacks, and posts or clips to accomodate additional speakers.  One way to judge the quality level (and justify the price) of a receiver is by the type of speaker connection.  Lower cost receivers use spring clips, mid-price models have binding posts that allow various type of connections and top of the line models have five-way binding posts - which means you can attach almost any type of speaker connection to that model.

One feature that many buyers don't consider is whether the receiver is upgradable.  A good  quality product will last for years and can become outdated though still working well.  Salespeople will expound on the upgrade capabilities and that is important to a certain extent.  Truth is, it doesn't make sense to pay very much for upgrade capabilities.  It will be many years before advances in technology make a central component such a home theater receiver outdated and it might be wise to simply plan for replacement when needed in the rather distant future.