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Everything You Need To Know About Home Theater Receivers (part 1)

Receivers perform many different important functions in your home theatre system. Along with being the central audio and video switching station, they handle audio signal processing and amplification, radio tuning , and in some high-end models, up conversion of standard video signals for high-def output through component video. Other features you’ll find on receivers include ports for connecting an satellite radio antenna or iPod. Since the receiver is such a key component, it’s important to do your homework and select one that provides enough input and output connections to accommodate all your audio and video sources.

Any receiver can handle two channel stereo playback, but a basic model should also come equipped with most cases. Most step up receivers add on Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES processing. These models make use of an additional back surround channel to extend the sonic possibilities of Dolby Digital and DTS even further.

The most common type of receiver. 5.1 channel models, decode the audio information contained in Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks and route them to front left and right, center, and surround speakers in your system via their five built in amplifier channels.

Along with providing all the functionality of a 5.1 channel receiver, 6.1 channel models include an additional amp channel to drive a back surround audio speaker when watching DVD encoded with Dolby Digital EX or DTS-ES soundtracks. The main benefit to the back surround channel is that it creates an even more realistic surround sound experience, one that’s closer to what you’d hear in a well equipped movie theater.

Sound to the other speakers in the system. The end result is a more seamless, theater like surround presentation when watching DVD with Dolby Digital EX encoded soundtracks. And then there’s Dolby headphone, a processing mode that brings the dynamic range, dialog clarity, and spatial effects of 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtracks to stereo headphone listening. Although using headphones in a fully equipped home theater might sound strange, it’s a great option for late-night viewing when you don’t want to disturb others in the house.