The receiver is an integral part of any home entertainment system. Here's a look at what specs matter most.
Sony STR-DG510
Onkyo TX-SR505
Denon AVR-1708
Onkyo TX-SR805
Sony ES STR-DA3300ES
Denon AVR-4308CI
Cambridge Audio 640R
NAD T775
Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH
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Sony STR-DG510

If money is tight, you can’t beat the Sony STR-DG510. For under $150 you get HDMI switching (2-1), 90 watts x5 into 8 ohms, and some nice auto calibration.

specs:
- 90 watts x 5 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD
- Dolby® Digital, DTS®, and Dolby Pro Logic® II processing
- Digital Cinema Auto Calibration for easy speaker setup (microphone included)
- Digital Cinema Sound modes
- A/V Sync helps align out-of-sync audio and video for digital sources
- 30 AM/FM presets
- HDMI digital video switching (2 in, 1 out) — pass-through only (a separate cable connection is required for audio)
- component video switching: 2 in, 1 out
- 2 audio/video inputs with composite video connections
- 2 audio-only inputs
- no phono input
- digital inputs: 2 optical, 1 coaxial
- 2 sets of main speaker outputs

price: $149.99

Read more: Choosing a Receiver for Your Home Theater