Best receivers under $1500

About The Author

CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

A/V receivers are the central hub of any home-cinema system. They provide the brains to process surround-sound signals, and the brawn to amplify them through the speakers. They allow you to retrieve sound and video from a variety of sources — and the better ones even allow for video upscaling.

Features are all important, and even today's low-cost models carry an assortment of functions that were once reserved for more expensive models. The latest trend is to eschew the physical iPhone/iPod docks in favour of built-in Airplay and even DLNA services to let Android users play along.

In this price range, you can expect to find receivers offering up to seven channels of amplification, and these extra channels can be used to support advanced speaker configurations, such as bi-wiring the front channels to improve stereo performance. There's also a growing use of Zone 2 functionality in this market — allowing you to have different areas of the house wired for different sound.

Installing your receiver is no longer a daunting prospect, with the widespread adoption of automatic set-up routines. These use a supplied microphone and a variety of test signals to accurately set up your system without any effort.

Connectivity is equally important, especially since the arrival of high definition. All of these receivers feature HDMI digital inputs and outputs, and allow video switching between compatible devices and your screen. This eases operation and cuts down cable clutter. Many models also offer video up-conversion, which will improve the picture performance of your standard analog sources, usually up to component video quality.

Networking has also become commonplace, with the receiver plugging in to both a home network and the internet, letting it stream files and access web-based music services, plus more.

High-definition audio is here, with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio able to deliver uncompressed, "studio-quality" audio, and the receivers here can decode these formats.


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Yoshi posted a comment   

So what would be good speakers to get for this (under $1000 would be great, but might go up a bit)?

 

Ty Pendlebury posted a reply   
Australia

We're doing a $1000 speaker roundup very shortly... look out for it.

 

LeighE posted a comment   
Australia

yep fair enough, i will try that option when im getting closer to buy - want to get the best one for the money available!

 

D posted a comment   

You're all best to spend some time on dedicated home theatre forums. There are lots of people who know what they're talking about, and where to find a good bargain. Start with DTV :)

 

LeighE posted a comment   
Australia

yep, i concur, when is the update coming please?

 

DQ posted a comment   

Im with the rest of them, but can we have a best under $1,000 as well

 

Mike posted a comment   

I always buy new stuff during financial year end sale, this time its an Amplifier i am buying...can this article be updated please.

 

Tom posted a comment   

I agree too! I'm in the same
market, something under $1500
that is a good all round system, with speakers to match a similar
budget too.

 

AVR hunter posted a comment   

Totally agree Gray. Im in the market for a decent AVR (in Aus).
Can someone please update this review!

 

Gray posted a comment   

This story needs to be updated it is over a year old. I navigated here after reading "Blu-ray: Everything you need to know" which has a link to this story for which AV receivers to purchase. Surely a year on there are more choices for receivers?




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