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What to Look For in Your First AV Receiver

If you've done your homework, you know that an AV receiver is essential to capturing cinema-quality home theater. With so many options available, spanning a pretty wide range of price points, how can you be sure your home theater AV receiver meets your needs without breaking the bank?

Denon Staff

You don't necessarily need the most advanced piece of equipment for your first AV receiver. There are plenty of receivers that balance quality with affordability. Here are the most important features to look for.

Baseline number of audio channels

You may not need a 13-channel superpower AV receiver right off the bat, but your first AVR should generate movie theater-quality audio. Consider a 5.1 channel receiver as your baseline, and go higher as needed to support additional speakers. A 5.1 arrangement powers five speakers — center, front left, front right, rear left and rear right — along with a subwoofer, providing true surround sound. A 5.2 channel receiver will add an extra subwoofer into the mix, allowing you to achieve higher-quality bass that’s evenly distributed throughout your viewing space.

Ready for tomorrow's audio and video formats

Technology moves quickly in the home theater market as new formats, features and benefits are continuously developed. No matter what price point you’re shopping in, opt for an AV receiver that supports current formats and can adapt to support new ones as well. Some important audio and video formats to look for include:

  • 4K Ultra HD video
  • Dolby Vision
  • HDR
  • HLG
  • Dolby Atmos
  • DTS:X

A home theater receiver that's compatible with these formats will ensure you're able to enjoy the very best picture and sound quality, regardless of which ones become industry standards.

Another important consideration is the number of HDMI inputs. Think about all the different devices you plan to run through your receiver: television, media players, video game consoles, etc. Two or three HDMI connections may not cut it. The Denon AVR-S540BT features five HDMI inputs, enabling users to run their entire home theater system through a single, powerful AV receiver.

Whether you're just getting started designing you home theater or looking to take it to the next level, Denon has the high-quality equipment to meet your needs. Browse the collection of 5.1 to 13.2 channel AVRs.

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