The audio/video receiver: it’s the backbone of any great home theater system. It is the piece that ties it all together to provide you with fully immersive, high-quality sound for your games, television shows and movies. There are certain features you’ll find on AV receivers at all price points, but if you’re on the hunt for a state-of-the-art sound system, there are a few new features popping up on new audio video receivers coming into the market that will be must-haves for audiophiles in the next year. Here are the top five audio video receiver trends for 2013 and beyond.
4K Scaling – Move over 1080p, 4K is the new video in town. 4K, also known as Ultra High Definition, is the newest screen resolution coming to the latest television sets on the market, and is four times the high definition resolution of today’s 1080p.
Although there is only a handful on the market right now, there will be many more launching and shipping later this year. To get the most from Ultra High Definition, your audio visual receiver will need to keep up. Check specifications for an audio video receiver that is optimized to scale those extra pixels.
Built-in Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is everywhere – literally and figuratively! Wi-Fi is an easy and relatively sound way to connect devices and stream music and video, as long as your signal is strong. Many receivers already provide this capacity, but with more apps and products being added to the market that can be connected via Wi-Fi, plus the addition of apps that can connect from mobile devices or from a laptop, it’s crucial that your next audio video receiver offers it.
Bluetooth – Not long ago, Bluetooth devices were reserved for the highest-end products. As the technology has evolved, Bluetooth has become much more prevalent, especially for smart phone users. Your audio video receiver should be able to connect via Bluetooth (many new ones are built with this feature), allowing you to easily connect any smart phone device to stream music. Bluetooth is a great option because it’s built in to iPhone and Android devices, so there’s no need to buy another device for streaming music.
Speaker Calibration Software – Getting great sound in your home theater room used to require measuring tapes, calculators and an advanced degree in math (or at least it felt like it!). Today’s audio video receivers are being built with built-in software to calibrate to your space automatically. The shape of your room, the materials used to make it comfortable, and the location of furniture all play into the calibration of your speakers, but with the built-in calibration software, a few minutes of quiet in the home theater room will provide pitch-perfect sound. Save yourself some trouble and make sure this feature is in your next audio video receiver.
App Remotes – How often do you misplace your remote? Odds are the remote turns up missing more times than you’d like, but with apps providing remote control access to your audio video receiver, a lost remote isn’t as dramatic as it used to be. Audio video receivers with downloadable apps let you control your devices from the palm of your hand, and can be great for multi-room systems. Because the apps connect via Wi-Fi, you won’t be tied down to an infrared line of sight like with traditional remotes, so you can control the receiver from virtually anywhere.
What features will you be looking forward to on your next audio video receiver?