How Does a Home Theater Receiver Work?
Home theater receivers have a variety of different audio inputs and outputs on them. This allows the receiver to accept audio and video feeds from various sources, including SACD, DVD-Audio, HD DVD, Blu-ray players and others. Many can even accept digital audio inputs from sources like DVD-Video players, HD DVRs, D-VHS decks, media servers, and many more. Most modern receivers use HDMI inputs for accepting and delivering HD audio and 1080p video.
Home theater receivers also feature switch inputs that the user can change depending on what input device they’re currently using. For instance, the user will switch to the “game” input when playing a game, but then switch back to “cable/sat” when watching cable or satellite. The switch tells the receiver which audio and video inputs to activate and transmit to the TV and speakers.
The receiver also processes or embellishes surround sound effects according to the chosen surround setting that’s chosen so a realistic soundscape can be created in the listening space. They contain small, but powerful computers with strong internal processors capable of meeting a wide variety of surround sound challenges. They can even take traditional audio inputs like that from a stereo CD and expand the sound to form a “faux” or matrix surround field. But, when a true multi-directional digital source is being used, the receiver can replicate it through its five, six, or seven speakers and subwoofer.
HDMI is a copy-protected system that allows HD audio and video to be transmitted from a source to a receiver or television using just one cable. Although the system is now the preferred digital signal delivery platform, its early days (HDMI 1.0) were plagued by issues ranging from breakable connectors to “handshake” connectivity problems.
These issues have been steadily resolved with each new HDMI release. The current standard of HDMI is 1.3a (or HDMI 1.3b with firmware updates). HDMI 1.3a allows true 1080p video and lossless HD-quality audio via DTS HD Master Audio and/or Dolby True HD. Whether you’re playing a game on a next-gen console, watching the latest Blu-ray release, or binging on your favorite Netflix show, you’ll notice a difference in both audio and video clarity simply by using a HDMI cable.
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