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Why do I need an AV receiver?

AV ReceiversAV Receivers

An AV receiver is not just an amplifier, it's actually more of a home cinema hub. It connects to your TV, your speakers and your sources (Blu-ray player, set-top box, games consoles etc.), and makes sure the right picture is displayed on the TV and the right sound comes out of the speakers. In addition to making sure you get incredible surround sound, most AV receivers will improve picture quality too.

The networking and streaming capabilities found on many receivers mean you can access internet radio, play music wirelessly from your phone and more. It may well be that your TV or Blu-ray player has this functionality too, but these are optimised for video and photos, not for tip-top sound quality. What's really great is being able to control these functions intuitively from your smartphone or tablet.

Even though the technology is complex, AV receivers are actually really easy to use. Setting them up can take a bit of time, but thankfully it's mostly automated, with guides that take you through the process step by step. For the ultimate piece of mind, we can take care of installation for you and walk you through how it all works once it's primed and ready to go.

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5.1 and beyond - surround sound explained

5.1 systems feature six speakers dotted around the room, surrounding you with sound, for cinema action that leaps out at you. Surround left and right speakers provide ambient atmosphere and 'it’s behind you' sounds; front left and right speakers provide a clear stereo soundstage for action, and a centre speaker, mounted directly above or below your TV, is there to make sure dialogue is clearly audible and feels like it’s coming straight from the talking heads on-screen. The extra .1 in the mix? The subwoofer – ideal at producing the heavy bass noises smaller speakers can’t.

So what’s 7.1?
This system adds two extra rear speakers for more accurate and subtle positioning of effects. Alternatively, you can place the additional speakers high up above your front speakers or further apart either side, known as 'height' or 'wide' front speakers. The idea of these is to make your room sound like a much bigger space than it actually is, that is to say, more like a cinema!

When amps start going up to 9.1 or 11.1, this means using height and / or width speakers, as well as the extra rears for the ultimate in immersion. Whenever you see a .2 this means more subs are getting involved, giving a massive boost to bass - perfect for fans of big explosions. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X take surround sound to the next level – speakers are positioned both around and above the listener to truly transport them to the heart of the action.

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Surround sound explainedSurround sound explained

What are TV soundbars?

Surround sound explainedSurround sound explained

Traditional 5.1 and 7.1 multi-channel speaker systems remain the popular choices if you’re looking for a great surround sound experience, but if you want to avoid the complexity, cost or space implications of a full surround system, there are alternatives in the form of soundbars.

The more subtle soundbar tucks away in front of or or underneath your TV and has much higher quality and more powerful speakers than you'll find inside any modern TV. This allows for a much more immersive and engaging sound, especially when a subwoofer is included to take care of deep bass sounds. Sound bases are designed in a similar way, but are large enough to sit your TV on. This allows them to have a much bigger speaker built in, often not needing the subwoofer. Neither sounds quite as impressive as a full home cinema amp and speakers set-up, but they are both serious alternatives if you’re limited for space.

If the earlier mention of Dolby Atmos has you excited, you’re in luck! We stock a wide array of soundbars that are able to mimic the experience of Dolby Atmos, using integrated custom-designed speakers to bounce sound off the ceiling to create Atmos’ signature sense of height and depth.

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