Do Home Theater Systems Need Receivers?

Do Home Theater Systems Need Receivers?
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“Do home theater systems need receivers?” is the question that is often asked by people who want to have a home theater system. We will be answering that at the latter part of this article. But first, let us find out what a receiver is.

The receiver is the center of your home theater system, which means this is where you connect the TV, speakers, and other components. The receiver can do a lot of functions including switching between audio and video components, driving your loudspeakers, and decoding your DVD’s surround sound formats.

Moreover, if you really want to have that surround sound experience, a receiver can help you with that.

Home Theater Receiver: How to Choose

Before you purchase a receiver, here are some of the things you need to know first.

Power Output

The brand or model is disregarded on this part because the power output will depend on the size of your home theater room and the power requirements of your loudspeakers.

Surround Sound Formats

This is an essential feature because this is the ability of your home theater to provide the surround sound experience. The most popular surround sound formats are Dolby Digital and DTS. Moreover, the surround sound format precepts how many channels your receiver should have.


Home theater receivers provide several speaker connections and outputs for one or more subwoofers. In addition, they also include audio and video connections.

Furthermore, composite or component options are becoming less frequently used due to the rise of HDMI.

Automatic Speaker Setup

Although not all low-end receivers have this option, most mid and high-end receivers will allow you to set up your speakers automatically. DIYers might find this helpful because it automatically configures your home theater depending on the distance, acoustics, and speaker size.

Smartphone Connectivity/Control and Bluetooth

Although most tablets and smartphones can play music, you might want to look for a receiver that will allow you to connect the mentioned gadgets. In addition, connections may either be wired or through Bluetooth.

Networking and Internet Audio/Video Streaming

If you have internet at home, this might be a cool feature to have on your receiver. When your receiver is able to network and connect to the internet, it will allow you to use your streaming services or play videos from your laptop or PC.

Remote Control via Mobile Phone app

Most home theater brands have developed a downloadable app which will allow you to convert your phone into a remote control. This might come in handy when you’ve lost your real remote control.

These features are just some of the things that we think are necessary for your receiver to have. But then, the possibilities are endless.

There might be some features not mentioned here that you want in your receiver so feel free to do your own research.

Home Theater Receiver: The Alternatives


Soundbars are active speakers designed to improve your television’s sound quality. They are often connected through an HDMI cable and most come with a subwoofer. Other features include virtual surround sound and Bluetooth connectivity.

Soundbars with Wireless Surround Speakers

This is an upgrade to the common 2.1 channel soundbar. Aside from the wireless subwoofer, this soundar also comes with two rear-end speakers for that surround sound experience without the use of an A/V receiver. Moreover, it is effortless to install because most sound bars are plug-and-play.

Active speakers with HDMI inputs

Traditional passive speakers need an amplifier to work but some active speakers have a built-in amplifier, though most are designed for playing music. This kind of speakers may also have features such as HDMI and Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to connect your TV and stream music wirelessly.

Do Home Theater Systems Need Receivers: A Summary

Now, with the question “Do home theater systems need receivers?”, the answer to that is: it depends. There are some instances that using a receiver for your home theater system is the way to go when you have a traditional 7.1 or 5.1 surround sound system.

Moreover, you will still need a receiver if your home theater system came with devices that are more than the inputs of your television.

A receiver is a good option when you want to hide unsightly cables because your TV is mounted on the wall with a lot of peripherals. Lastly, more advanced receivers are equipped with great features that will make your home theater system’s functionality better and cooler.

However, if you really want to do away with a receiver, the alternatives mentioned above are great options. They are awesome especially when you are a DIYer who has zero knowledge in setting up a home theater system.

There are other options to a receiver are very easy to install and most of them are plug-and-play. They also give that surround sound experience which is the first reason why we want to have a home theater system.

With those being said, the choice between having a receiver or not will depend on your preferences. There are still other features that are not available in the mentioned alternatives which are only present in a receiver.

Moreover, a receiver will come in handy especially when your home theater has a lot of speakers involved.

And if the size of the receiver is an issue for you, there are receivers now that are very compact and loaded with so many features that you cannot find in the mentioned alternatives. On the other hand, a soundbar is perfect if you don’t want to deal with cables because they are very easy to install and they are commonly wireless.

To sum it all up, use a receiver only if you want one for the reason that it is necessary to have better sound nowadays. Also, because of the advancement in technology, a lot has been created for you to have a better sound experience without the complexities.

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