While owning a sound bar might be easy, where do you go if you want sound with a bit more oomph?
A receiver and a set of speakers is It's the best [UNKNOWN] receiver upgrade you can buy.
Receivers don't need to be expensive, either.
A decent 5.1 receiver starts at around $300, while spending more at around $500 is the sweet spot for most people.
But what kind of things do you need to look for?
It turns out that most features don't matter much, and it's just a couple of things you should focus on when making your choice.
If you wanna buy a TV any time in the future, then you'll need to make sure your AV receiver can pass through [UNKNOWN] standards.
Things like HDR and Dolby vision need at least HDMI version 2.0 or better.
Thankfully, most models made from 2017 and onwards
Should be fine, with most televisions and set up boxes supporting HDMI, you should buy a receiver which has many as these ports as possible.
It's best to get a model that has one more input than you have devices, who knows what the must have device is going to be, maybe it's a gaming console, so aim for at least 5 HDMI ports just to be safe.
The main AV brands to consider are Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, Marantz, Denon, and Sony.
Most of them sound identical to each other but if you want to listen to music as well the best brands are Sony, Marantz and Denon.
How many speakers do you want in your living space?
Most people can get away with just a stereo pair.
But upgrading to rear speakers as well really adds to the sense of immersion.
Adding Dolby Atmos height speakers isn't as big of jump as that, and not as much material supports it.
If you don't know if you need Atmos or not, then answer is probably no, you don't.
Multi room music is a great addition.
And if your receiver has Chromecast support, that is the best option right now.
This is followed by Apple Airplay two and DDS Play-Fi.
However, if you already own devices with Denon's Heos, Or Yamaha MusicCast, they might also be worth considering.
In addition, having its own two output also adds to the flexibility of the system.
If you want the home theater experience, you really do need an AV receiver.
But buying one shouldn't be as daunting as its back panels with [UNKNOWN] A reputable, affordable brand should let you start small and simple and then upgrade as your needs and budgets allow.
This has been [UNKNOWN] for cnet.com