Home Theater Installation – Selecting a Receiver

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,596
    Home theater expert Keith Harmon discusses how to select a receiver when installing your home theater.


    (""{$ihD 5BBBBBBB+d"BK0{B BBB 8{$Hi, this is Keith Harmon with Smart Wired Home and we are back to talk about selecting a surround sound receiver. A surround sound receiver is going to be really the heart of your system. It is going to receive all of the audio signals and change those and amplify them to send them out to your speakers. It is also going to do your video switching. Well, it does not have to. But here is why you want to do it. Any time you start to get multiple components working together, they are going to - you are going to be selecting the audio and the video. If they get out of sync, then you see one thing on the screen and a different thing coming out of the speakers, not typically what you are looking for.

    By doing all of that audio and video switching together in your surround sound receiver, you can reduce, perhaps eliminate, but definitely reduce the chances of that happening because you are doing that together, the audio and the video changes together so that what you see is what you are hearing most of the time. So, what do you look for in a surround sound receiver? Well, we have got, here is an older one, these techniques, that one is typically your volume control is one of the main thing, switching your audio, switching your video, decoding the surround sound signal. That is what you are looking for in there. You are going to look for the total power. Do you have 50, 70, 80, 100, 150 watts per channel for those speakers and how many sets?

    Almost everything today is going to be a 7.

    1, although there are exceptions to that. Again, most of your signals are going to be 5.

    1. So, let us take a look at - we take a look at the front that is usually pretty simple. It is the back of the receiver they get to be a bit daunting. So, first of all we are looking down here at speaker connectors. Speakers are going to be right, left, center and in the front, surround sound rear as well as the back surround for 7.

    1 but right and left for both of those. A lot of these will have a second room or a zone two, that would basically allow you to hook up sound in another room, maybe even have a different source over there. That is nice to have for your home theater, but we are not really looking at that here, we are looking at how to power your home theater.

    When we look at the connections, we see the standard stereo connections here right and left, red is right, white is left being able to input and output all kinds of stereo signals. Maybe you want to hook your iPod up; you could do that right here. So, now we are going to - we take a look at the audio, just the stereo but then we say, well, we actually want to get something more than just the right and left. Again, we are talking about home theater, it is surround sound. So, now we start to see these optical inputs and coaxial inputs, that allows you to take various devices like your DVD player, your cable box, your satellite box, your TeVo, whatever other things that you have and be able to get the sound from them into the surround sound receiver. Now, you will notice none of these - all these are labeled, DVD, VDP, TV, VCR, tape, all of them are specifically labeled. That is a specific input for a device. Each one of these, the digital typically those are what we call in a final input whereas you are going to take that input and you are going to go through the menus, setup menus, on the remote that comes with the receiver and be able to designate, optical audio in - oh, that is TV, optical audio in two, that is DVD, optical audio in three, that is cable box or satellite box or whatever it is hooked up to. So, that is an important part of the setup is going through those menus. Getting away from the audio we start to look at the video. So, over here we have got the old component, yellow style. Again, we will cover all those in the cables as well and in the S-video which is a little better and here is the component. The red, blue, green inputs, basically you are looking at number of connectors.

    Two connectors gives you A level quality, if you look very closely at the S-video, see if there are four connectors there, it gives you more quality and here we have two, four, six connectors, again, higher quality, being able to split up the video signal better. So, you can get your 1080 signal in and out or the component in. We are starting to see a lot more today of the HDMI and this particular receiver also does HDMI switching. Two HDMI ends, one HDMI out, so that if that is the way you hooked up, you hook up your HDMI in there that is DVD, it comes in and then it will go out to whatever display that you selected. Then maybe, your cable box comes into HDMI 2 that is now selected, you configure that totally in the machine. It comes out to go to the receiver I am sorry to go to the display, so that you see the right signal on display and have the right sound coming out of your speakers. So, that is a quick overview of the connectors, again we are looking for a 5.

    1 versus 7.

    1, we are looking for the watch for channel and how much - how well the set sounds, you want to be able to test these things out in the store to say how does this particular receiver sound instead of that you are going to do just because it is a big name. Typically, you get something that is not the cheapest one in the whole line of a good name and you are probably going to be okay.

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