Monday, February 12, 2007

Stereo Receiver

Stereo receivers are the unsung heroes of the entertainment electronics and home theater field. They aren't flashy or in your face, and yet most of the other components have to connect to the receiver in order to function best. Stereo receivers are expected to tune in FM/AM broadcasts, provide surround sound, and switch between home theater components, so as you can see it's a very important piece of equipment. So what features should you look for when you want to buy a stereo receiver? Here are a few:

* If you plan on using your receiver in a home stereo setup, check to be sure that it has all of the correct connections for the components that you have. There are still several stereo receivers that only have audio connections, but if you wish to include video as well, the receiver should have enough connections for your DVD player and any other video sources that you want to send to your TV including either cable or satellite. Regular composite connections will work for video, but if you want better, sharper color and detail opt for an S-video connection instead as this cable separates the black-and-white portion of the video from the color portion and produces a better overall picture.

* Make sure that you have enough connections for your audio needs as well. If you are getting into digital surround sound you will need at least 6 speakers with their appropriate connections on your receiver. If it's a digital receiver it should support both Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround sound at least, which employs separate channels for 5 speakers and a subwoofer. If you choose to use the more recent 6.1 or 7.1 format, you will have to have the extra necessary speakers and connections for that.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Gift Ideas

Popular options that are over $50 include a variety of products that provide stereo speaker systems which an iPod can connect to allowing listening at home without the earphones. Several of these products offer excellent sound quality and are said to be reasonable replacements for home stereo systems. At the lower end of the spectrum is the iLuv which comes in around $89, the iHome clock radio which is priced around $99, the Banshee iPod surround sound speaker system and the Altec Lansing inMotion which are just over $100. Moving up in price there is also the iPod Hi-Fi which offers a compact multi-speaker set up that is quite portable and is priced around $349. The iPod HomeDock Entertainment Center is also available and allows the user to connect their iPod to a home stereo or TV to listen to music or watch video/slide shows on these devices.

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