Today’s homes are equipped with bigger TV’s, more powerful devices and “smart” options that make watching TV, playing games and listening to audio better than ever before. No matter if you are an audiophile, movie buff or video game aficionado, there is one piece of equipment that is a must to get the most from your setup–the receiver.

However, just like any other piece of home entertainment equipment, there are many options on the market today. Understanding exactly what a receiver is, and the most common options can help you make a smart purchasing decision.

What is a Receiver?

Essentially, the receiver serves as the “heart” of your audio or theater setup. It receives input from a number of audio devices and processes it–sending it out to the speakers in a clear, concise way. A receiver makes it easier to control a number of devices and improves sound quality.

Common Receiver Types

Two of the most common types of a receiver are “home theater receivers” and “stereo receivers.” Home theater receivers are designed for today’s TV’s and include ports for connecting additional devices like video game systems and blu-ray player. By connecting all of these inputs to your receiver, you won’t have to constantly switch back and forth between cables to enjoy multiple devices. Plus, the sound quality will be improved, no matter what type of speaker you use.

Another popular receiver type is a stereo receiver. These are generally utilized for audio. A stereo receiver may be used with a multi-disc CD changer or with an external hard drive device, to allow you to play your digital music through a home audio system.

There are a number of great receivers on the market, so it pays to check out the options. One popular line today is the Dolby Atmos receiver, so it may be worth your time to investigate this option and see if it offers the benefits you require.