Before you buy your next audio-video receiver you should take some time to figure out exactly which features you need now and which features you may need in the future. Below are listed some of the more important things you should consider.
HDMI Inputs and Outputs
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a type of digital connection that's capable of transmitting both high-definition video and high-resolution audio over a single cable. It is typically used to connect high-definition devices together. Because it is fully digital, this type of interface between your home theater components provides the highest quality signal transmission. As a rule of thumb, the more HDMI connections you can get, the better.
Component video inputs and outputs
Count up all the high definition components you own that don't have HDMI inputs so that you can find out how many component video inputs you will need. These inputs are the ones that are colored red, green and blue. Many people assume that these are digital signals; however, they are actually analog signals and are subject to the same kind of noise interference as composite signals are. The three connectors are used to carry the three primary colors for your television picture.
Composite video inputs and outputs
You should also count how many standard resolution components you have in order to find out how many composite video inputs and outputs you will need. These connections use a yellow connector for the analog video signal, a white connector for the left audio channel and a red connector for the right. If you need the round black S-video connectors, make note of them too.
Number of channels
Have you decided whether you want a 7.1 channel system or a 5.1 channel system? It isn't always true that a 7.1 channel system is better than a 5.1 channel system. If you are new to this I would recommend that you read up on them.
You may want your receiver to convert analog composite video or component video signals to digital signals for use of the HDMI cable. This could add a significant cost to your receiver, but could be well worth it if your HDTV has trouble with low resolution signals.
The areas above represent only five different parameters which you can use to select an audio-video receiver. This by no means covers all possible options. You will most likely want to consider even more parameters in your search. Once you have collected all of the parameters which are important to you, the best way to select your receiver is to compare your collection against the specification sheet of each and every receiver on the market. This is not a small task.
Fortunately, there are tools available on the net which can help you filter through all of the different receivers and search through all the parameters to find the receiver you are looking for.