Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to set-up an AV Receiver

A good AV receiver is the hub of your home theater system. It connects and manages all of your equipment. You will plug in speakers, your TV or projector, tv set-top box, xbox, playstation, apple tv, blu ray player, dvd player, etc....all into one box.

AV receivers have come along way in recent years with the development of technologies such as hdmi and wifi internet connections. But the basic function of the av receiver is the same. It collects all of the incoming audio and video signals from your equipment and converts and relays those signals to your speakers and video display. Pretty simple.

Here are a few of the top manufacturers of hifi Audio Video receivers:

  1. Denon 
  2. Yamaha 
  3. Sony 
  4. Pioneer 
  5. Onkyo 
  6. Marantz 

I'm going to go over a very common set-up of an AV receiver to give you a basic idea of how to set it up. Here is the equipment list:

LG LED 55" television
Pioneer AV receiver
LG Blu-ray player
Xbox 360
Apple TV
Directv DVR
Klipsch 5.1 speaker system

The pioneer AV receiver is the hub of this system. The incoming signals will come from the Xbox, Apple TV, blu ray player, and Directv satellite DVR box. This signals will be output to the Klipsch 5.1 speaker system and the LG television.

The easiest way to connect your input signals is via HDMI. Most modern receivers will have 3-5 hdmi input connectors. This set-up will need 4 HDMI inputs. If you don't have enough, you have a couple of options. You can either buy an HDMI switcher to add more HDMI inputs. The downside to this is that you have another box you have to use to switch through the incoming signals. The other option is to use component video input cables and either optical or RCA audio inputs.....if your system supports these connections. My preference would be to get and HDMI switcher to give you the added benefit of HDMI....including superior quality picture and sound.

Once you connect the 4 incoming components, you will then need to connect the outgoing signals to the display and sound components. Lets start with the television. Ideally, you will only need 1 HDMI cable to connect your AV receiver to your television. This will send both sound and video to your TV. The sound is only necessary if you will be using your televisions built in sound instead of stand alone speakers. I highly recommend a set of great speakers. Even inexpensive speakers will dramatically increase your sound experience.

The last step is to connect the speakers. Typically, 16 gauge speaker wire will be adequate to connect your speakers. This system is 5.1 meaning you have a center channel, front left and right channel, and rear left and right channel, plus a subwoofer (which is the .1). The subwoofer will normally require a special subwoofer connecter cable rather than typical speaker wire. Your AV receiver should have a connection on the back labeled subwoofer for this cable.

That's it...everything is plugged in. Each receiver will vary in the ways to cycle through the various input channels. Some have a dial, and all will allow you to select this via remote. See your manufacturers manual for further details on this. But essentially, if you want blu ray, you will turn on your blu ray player and then select the appropriate input channel on your remote. The receiver will automatically take that signal and send the sound and video to your speakers and tv.

You will probably also want to calibrate your speaker system. Many of the newer receivers will come with a microphone and an auto calibrate system that is very easy to use.

Advanced settings are a whole other topic and will vary by manufacturer. But if you follow the above steps, you should have a basic idea of how to set up and audio video receiver.

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