Buying Guides

Audio Video Receiver to Recreate a Cinema Experience at Home

Eric Chan

If there is one thing the past two years have taught us with the pandemic, it is that we need to create our happiness. The movies were the best place to hang out. However, movie release dates were pushed ahead to anticipate normalcy would return, and theaters were closed. The closest thing to achieving the experience is getting a good audio-video receiver and recreating the thrill from your home's comfort. We will look at the best AV receiver for different scenarios, including music streaming and gaming.

What is an Audio Video Receiver?

An AV receiver does the simple job of interpreting a signal from input devices like the satellite dish, VCR or DVD, and amplifying the signals before sending them to an output device like the television or the sound system.

Some signals are encoded in ways that require a decoder to make sense of the signal before sending it to an output. For instance, Dolby Atmos technology encodes six separate audio channels, all mapped and balanced for a surround sound system. You need a decoder to send these signals to the correct output devices to create the wholesome intended experience. The same concept works for Dolby Vision that may require the correct output device for the experience.

We will focus on the AV receiver, which in this case, is our worthy messenger.

Which is the Best Audio Video Receiver?

Best Audio Video Receiver

1) Sony STR-DH 790 Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver

Sony STR-DH790 7.2-ch Surround Sound Home Theater AV Receiver: 4K HDR,...
  • CINEMATIC SOUND AT HOME: Enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and more with theater like...
  • BREATHTAKING AUDIO: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver multi-dimensional and object-based...
  • STUNNING 4K QUALITY: 4K HDR pass through with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Hybrid...
  • GET CONNECTED: 4 in/1 out HDMI each and 1 optical / 1 coaxial digital and analog audio...
  • AUTO CALIBRATION: Advanced D.C.A.C. analyzes and adjusts the audio for optimal sound in...

Sony has always dominated the home theater world with its outstanding devices that keep pushing the boundaries. This particular creation has support for Dolby Vision with 4k HDR pass through. In addition, the system has a hybrid log gamma that gives better contrast, clearer colors, and outstanding brightness. Other receivers can not compare with Sony because they have all it takes to give you an immersive experience.

The audio that comes out of this beast is mind-blowing; The system has channels that support a 7.2 surround sound system with clear amplifiers that ensure an object-based and multi-dimensional sound. In addition, Sony has advanced D.C.A.C. that auto-calibrates the sound to suit the room to make the sound more in tune with the room. The best part about the system is that you can use Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from your phone.


  • Dolby Atmos
  • 7.2 channel surround sound
  • The AV receivers feature D.C.A.C. for auto-calibration
  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • Perfect home theater for small rooms
  • Dolby vision
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Immersive


  • No voice control

2) Denon AVR-S960H 8K Ultra HD 7.2 Channel

Denon AVR-S960H 8K Ultra HD 7.2 Channel (90Watt X 7) AV Receiver 2020...
  • UNMATCHED 3D REALISM FOR YOUR HOME THEATER SYSTEM – Enjoy Immersive surround sound with...
  • GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR 4K TV - Enjoy the highest quality 3D audio and video knowing that...
  • NEXT GEN GAMING - Enjoy a smooth, lag-free gaming experience with spectacular imaging,...

Denon brings absolute class to the table with the Dolby Atmos height virtualization and DTS virtual, which is rare to find in many receivers. In addition, you can make the best out of your home theater system with the 7.2 channel receiver that delivers clarity and a 360-degree sound that will keep you immersed at all times.

The futuristic receiver gives you the chance to experience 8k/60Hz while having the ability to let 4k/120Hz, giving you variety and widening the range in which you can experience the system. This is a lovely feature because 4k is just being explored, and by the time we fully get to 8k, the receiver will have served you for a long time. In addition, Denon helps you extend audio to other rooms via Wi fi, Bluetooth, or Airplay 2 using the Heos multiroom wireless speakers.


  • 8k/60Hz and 4k/120Hz
  • 7.2 channel
  • HDCP 2.3 processing
  • Supports wireless systems including Heos, Airplay 2, and Bluetooth
  • Dolby Atmos height virtualization and DTS virtual:x
  • Connects to the home Wi fi


  • The system does not support pass-through from every 4k/120 media output

3) Onkyo TX-NR696 Audio and Video Receiver

Onkyo TX-NR696 Home Audio Smart Audio and Video Receiver, Sonos...
  • SONOS COMPATIBLE. This Onkyo receiver can join your existing Sonos Home Sound System, or...
  • SMART AVR. This is the heart of your entertainment system. Stream from Amazon Music,...
  • GOOGLE CHROMECAST. Cue, play, and control music playback by voice with your Google...
  • DTS ATMOS. Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer provides an immersive listening experience,...
  • THX CERTIFIED SELECT. Take movie night to the next level. THX Certified Select guarantees...

Onkyo is a marvel. The smart receiver gives you the best streaming world, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Deezer, TuneIn, and TIDAL. Having all these options while being able to share them with other rooms is a huge plus. In addition, you can use Airplay 2, Chromecast, FlareConnect, or DTS Play-fi. Onkyo TX models are game-changers with their Google Chromecast abilities that give you the freedom to work from your devices while casting video or audio from your couch or bed.

Onkyo is Dolby Atmos-enabled, and you can enjoy the benefits of sound-scaping and feel as though you are in a theater. In addition, the receivers have THX CERTIFIED SELECT that offers the same experience that you would get in a theater as long as you are within a distance of 10 to 12 feet from the screen.


  • Google Chromecast compatible
  • Smart receiver for streaming
  • Wireless control
  • THX certified select
  • Theater quality sound


  • Does not work with 7.2 channels and above

4) Yamaha RX-V6A 7.2 Channel Receiver

YAMAHA RX-V6A 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with MusicCast
  • HDMI with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (7 in / 1 out)
  • 4K60, 4K120AB and 8K60B HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (Three 8k + 4 (7) in/1 out)
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Voice Control and MusicCast multi-room
  • Voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant devices or Siri via AirPlay 2
  • Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD

Yamaha supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Dolby Atmos with height virtualization placing the system ahead of other receivers in the market. Yamaha supports up to 8k/60B, which is futuristic and yet fully realized by most production houses. The technology will serve you for as long as you have music to stream, games to play, and movies to watch.

Yamaha uses voice control and can connect to home Wi fi. You can incorporate different streaming services to listen to your favorite playlists without worrying about physically controlling the system. You have a multiroom cast at your convenience to listen to music wherever you want to in your home.


  • Supports 8k
  • Voice control
  • Connect to home Wi fi
  • Features Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Dolby Atmos with height virtualization


  • 8k is not that popular yet

5) Onkyo TX-NR797

Onkyo TX-NR797 Smart AV 9.2 Channel Receiver with 4K Ultra HD | Dolby...
  • 220 watts per Channel
  • Supports 4K/60p and HDR (HDR10, hlg, Dolby vision, BT.2020)
  • 5.2.2-Ch Dolby Atmos and DTS: x playback
  • Dolby Atmos height virtualize* and DTS virtual: x
  • Accueq with subwoofer EQ and accureflex

We mentioned Onkyo above, but we had to talk about the TX-NR797 because it is a 9.2 channel receiver. As you already know, a 7.2 channel surround sound is already mind-blowing. Now imagine what a 9.2 channel brings to the table. You can achieve multiroom audio with the receiver, all while allowing 4k/60p media through.

To blow your mind further, the receiver is IMAX enhanced and features audio that is optimized for the IMAX experience just as the filmmakers intended. This is crazy because the system is Dolby enabled, giving the best of both worlds. Onkyo has other features that make it the best receiver, including Chromecast, Sonos, and Wi-fi home connection. You can use the music streaming sites on the receiver from any room in your house.


  • IMAX enhanced
  • Dolby Enabled
  • Multiroom9.2 channel
  • Home Wi-fi connect


  • 220 watts per channel

Factors to Consider when Buying an AV Receiver

a) Channels

In most cases, we listen to audio that involves two sides; the right and the left speaker. Now think of each speaker as a channel. That means you have two channels. The number of channels in an AVR can be translated as the maximum number of speakers in your home theater system. The more channels you have in your receiver model, the more speakers you can add.

There is a huge chance that you are going for AVR receivers capable of supporting surround sound. Your best bet will be to go for at least five channels to experience that surround sound magic. A 7.1 would be great, and a 9.1 would be hard to describe. You only need to experience the sound.

b) Inputs and Outputs

As we have already established, AVR is an important conversion point where a signal comes in from input and gets translated or amplified to an output. Therefore, you need output connections that will correctly interpret the signals sent to them to transmit the signal rightfully.

Here is an example of how the output connection can affect the signal even when the output device is doing its job correctly. If you look at your earphone jack, you will notice that it has bands on it. The bands are mostly black or white. All earphones do not have the same number of bands as some, while others have two to three bands. For example, let's say you are watching a movie on your phone, and the scene has a car moving from left to right. Earphones with two bands or more will give you sound that moves from left to right, while earphones with one band will give you just the car sound.

This concept applies to all other output cables. Ensure that the specifications match your intentions for the AVR to get the best performance out of the device. Ensure that the cables connect to the AV receiver and that they are compatible. If you need to transmit HDR 10 content from an Ultra HD Blu-ray source or other streaming services like Chromecast streamer or Roku, you will need AV receivers that support HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2.

Getting the right outputs will give you the chance to watch 4k videos with 3D capabilities while listening to surround sound to make the experience whole. In some cases, you might need more than two of the same output. For instance, if you want to send the second HDMI to a separate room for use on a different television, you need an HDMI port for that. In addition, some receivers have up to four HDMI inputs while having one output. Therefore, know your needs before you buy an AVR.

c) Power

The AVR receiver has an amplifier in it. Speakers with an impedance of fewer than 8 Ohms will draw more power from the amp than those with more than 8 Ohms. All other outputs will draw a level of power that will need to be supported by the AVR. The HDMI inputs and outputs do not draw the same amount compared to the dedicated audio ports. The demand is never very high, but it is worth considering.

It is important to note that the more channels the AVR have, the lower the power output that each channel will get. However, to combat this, all you need to do is get more quality-sensitive speakers and worry less about the power that the AVR is giving out.

d) Streaming Support

Technology is all about convenience. An AVR that features wireless capabilities will be the best for people looking for devices with the latest technological advancements. In this day and age, streaming music is the easiest form of listening to music. You no longer have to change a vinyl to listen to the next record physically.

All you need to do is buy an AV receiver that can be incorporated into the home wireless network connection for use by features like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. With this, you can stream music from sites like apple airplay and listen to your music within your physical convenience. Of course, Bluetooth connectivity would be an added advantage to the system.

e) Room Correction

Sound is made up of waves that bounce off any reflective surface and get absorbed by any non-reflective surface. Because of the nature of sound, it might be difficult to create a room that entirely revolves around getting the perfect sound as your home still needs to be home and not a music studio. Some AV receivers have inbuilt mics for real-time analysis of the room to create an immersive experience. The microphones measure the sound quality, and the software in the system compensates for any distortion that may be a result of the anomalies in the room.

Some systems give you a choice to tweak the sound to the levels that suit you the most to avoid over-processing the sound coming out of the speakers.

f) Price

Price is always a factor when buying products. However, you need to be wise about buying a product by getting the device that suits your needs. For example, when you buy a 9.1 channel AV receiver just because it has 9 channels and you use it to play on a 5.1.2 configurated channel, the quality will not be as good as just using the right channel receiver meant for that configuration.

It is important to future-proof yourself. Anticipate any updates that might be upcoming. The visual world has been experiencing very rapid growth in terms of video quality. Now there is content coming out in 8k quality just a few years after 4k came into existence. You, therefore, need to think of the future as you make a purchase.

Prices might include shipping if you are not lucky enough to get free shipping.

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