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Is The Home Theater Receiver Dead?
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February 13, 2013 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Reports of the death of the receiver have been greatly exaggerated.
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Posted by Eric  on  02/13  at  04:39 PM

This product seems intended for the mass market, where a full Sonos 5.1 systems not only requires a Wi-Fi network and some PC setup, but also runs at least $2050. (Sonos PlayBar + Sonos Sub + Two Play:3s + Sonos Bridge)  A comparable sounding and powered wired 5.1 solution could be had for $1200 or less, which is significant.  Add in the uncertain nature of wireless connections (people would NOT be ok with connection issues when they want to watch a movie on Friday night), and I completely agree, the receiver and WIRED speakers, whether bookshelf, wall-mounted or installed, aren’t going anywhere soon.

Posted by rbs  on  02/15  at  11:12 AM

home theater receivers have been dead for a good quality Home theater for many years. in most magazines, you see $250k-$500K systems using a $3k pioneer/onkyo receiver. How wrong is this? sure, the people have a great looking room, and a great projector but always skimp on the sound. there are no receivers out on the market that can compete with separates from classe and mcintosh for example, especially if the room also delivers music.
soundbars are a cheap way to get multidimensional sound in the room, but in no way compete with a good quality 5.1/7.1 systems with good speakers, and good speakers i’m not talking about $200 a pair polk/nht. get decent revel/totem/usher and many other speakers that will give you great sound for both music and movies.

Posted by Alan  on  02/15  at  11:39 AM

I don’t think AV receivers will go away. For those on a budget they do some pretty amazing things. Using seperates will no doubt improve quality but also increase cost. For the rich I agree sometimes I read on your site about some funny decisions in folks home theater designs. But Mr. Cullen is entitled to his opinion. It is like the so called experts who said 3D would be the next new thing. How’d that work out?

Posted by Reg B  on  02/18  at  10:58 AM

One of the biggest issues with sound bars that are designed to hook up to the digital output of a TV is that the digital out is only stereo (ie:2 channel), Dolby Stereo at best.  No 5.1 signal, so the surround you will get even from a Sonos hooked up with a Play3 or 5, & a Sonos sub for full 5.1, will only be Dolby Pro Logic!  No Dolby or DTS digital!

Posted by Bob  on  02/18  at  12:35 PM

For the mass market on a budget, an all in one sound-bar will suffice, For the person that wants to use his money effectively in a Home Theater, Dedicated Theater, or Media Room, a well designed and proportioned system will make his or her investment pay off for years to come.

Posted by Billy  on  02/18  at  12:46 PM

I am so tired of the urban centric “all content will be on-line”.  I’ll get fiber in the street (250M from the house) in 2018, aDSL is barely supported and the cable co limits downloads.

But about receivers:  till bars can act like one, IE hdmi in and out, I’ll pass.

Posted by Mark D  on  02/18  at  01:33 PM

what receivers need to do is evolve. It blows me away that they still look like they did 20-30 years ago. I mean…this is the best these guys can do? How about smaller, narrower, or a different footprint? Cooler running a plus too. How about an LCD screen instead of rotary dials and buttons? LCDs are cheap now, a Pioneer car radio is $250 with 6” LCD.

Posted by Greg  on  02/18  at  08:10 PM

I have yet to see (hear) a soundbar that gives me goosebumps on the back of my neck from the surround speakers or connects to a large enough subwoofer to make me feel it in my stomach (and make my neighbors look over to my house). Soundbars are great for a family room TV, but for serious sound, you have to have multichannel and dedicated subs, with plenty of power to drive it all.

I also don’t know of any soundbars with serial or IP drivers :)

Posted by Ron Geiken  on  02/19  at  07:55 AM

I have about a 5 year old Yamaha Receiver now after many other in years past. I like how this one functions and I have 4 HDMI inputs in the rear and they are all used. Also have digital sound and I like how easy it was for me to logic it out and get everything connected up. The receiver was in the $500 range, but for me personally it offered a lot of options. I had some old legacy Analog DVRs that recorded to either a hard drive or a DVD-RW. I used those functions a lot after I first got it, and enjoyed the flexibility. The sound from the TV goes to the Yamaha receiver with a digital input and that gives me a great adjustable sound on Dolby and it is automatically selected based on what is being Transmitter by the TV station. Right now I pretty well understand my A/V receiver and would not want to change to anything different. For me personally this Yamaha Receiver will last me until it fails. Don’t need any additional features that I would likely not use.

Posted by Jijo  on  02/19  at  09:32 AM

For me, it’s not just about how many devices can be connected and how many formats are supported. Give me one perfect sound system with enough juice in it to play it like a movie hall, that can play audio from a digital input (optic, coax, or hdmi) and I am happy. Sound bars are for those who want an improvement on their TV speakers.

Posted by Tvox  on  02/21  at  11:02 AM

try the Bose sound bar you won’t regret it! I’m not a sound bar guy but when I heard it I was blown away! I compared to all sound bar out there and nothing can compare with it.  the only down side is that it’s quite expensive but it’s worth it! wife is happy too!

Posted by Thomas  on  03/04  at  06:49 AM

Two parts to an AVR- connectivity and amplification.  On the issue of connectivity, a soundbar may well be able to provide all the same connectivity in the near future, and systems such as Sonos may already be able to provide streaming of digital content and online content via Airplay, DLNA etc, but they cant yet produce ear melting power, so they have no place in a real Home Theatre at this stage.

Will they start to take market share from people who dont really need an AVR and floorstanders for a small living room or bedroom?  Quite possibly.  Will they take market share from real theatre rooms that need serious amplification driving serious speakers?  Unlikely.

Posted by m82a1  on  03/06  at  04:52 PM

The receiver will never die. Some people crave for higher than average sound quality when watching a movie.

Posted by Jeff  on  04/11  at  02:03 PM

I love Sonos but he’s just plain wrong. It does not take the place of a good A/V receiver.

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