The AV ReceiverAlthough you can get away with plugging AV cables directly into the back of your television and from there to your stereo or DVD player, it's much easier to use an audio-video receiver. Not only do they make switching back and forth between different devices— say, DVD player, gaming system, iPod or stereo— much easier, they also amplify sound and route video signal from devices to the television.
First, decide between stereo or A/V (sometimes called surround sound). Although the first type of receiver works well for music, the second will do major heavy lifting for your home theater. Not only does it make surround sound possible, it will handle the job of switching from one input source to another with ease, which a stereo receiver won’t, says DigitalTrends.com. For more information about receiver specs and choices, like power, processing and more, see their Ultimate Buying Guide.