Audiovisual receivers buying guide

AV receivers sell the idea of turning your living room into a cinema. How much should you spend?
 
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01 .AV receivers

AV receiver

An AV receiver is the hub of any home-theatre system. Its job is to take the sound and video information from your DVD, CD player or set-top-box and, if necessary, convert it to an appropriate output – then send it through to your screen and speakers.

Our buying guide explains:

  • Controls you should look for
  • Which types of connections are necessary
  • How much power you need for good sound quality
  • Some of the jargon associated with audio equipment

For more information about Home theatre, see Home entertainment.

When you buy a 'home theatre in a box' the AV receiver and DVD/CD player are often combined into one unit, which you connect to the speakers and TV. However, there are two good reasons to buy separate components: you get more control over the quality of each and, should one component break down, you don't have to replace the whole system. The former is by far the most important.

Sound quality

The main purpose of a home theatre set-up is to provide surround sound. The AV receiver includes the amplifiers necessary to drive your speakers.

At the cheaper end you’re likely to get a 5.1 system, which means it has five speaker connections (three front and two back) and a sub-woofer connection. This is the most common format for DVD movies.

More expensive systems tend to be 6.1, with three at the front, two back and one back centre, or 7.1, which has an extra back centre speaker. You don’t necessarily get better sound with a 6.1 or 7.1.

Their aim is to try to increase the sensation of sounds coming from different directions by using more speakers, as you’d expect in a movie theatre.

CHOICE verdict

For most consumers a mid-priced AV receiver (around $1,000) should provide enough power, connections and quality of sound. Extra connections often come with more power, but that's no guarantee of sound quality – always check the specs, especially total harmonic distortion.

 
 

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Ernie's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 Jul 07
  • 9 Comments
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8 MONTHS AGO | Hi,
good quality stainless steel is non-magnetic, so testing it with a magnet is useless.
St/St cookware suitable for induction cooking has steel embedded in its base, the same as some copper items.
I have used induction cooking for years: it is the best!
Regards, Ernst

 

 
 

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fitzy1928's opinion:

  • Member since: 01 Oct 10
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8 MONTHS AGO | i have bought some induction cook ware my problem is the good brands are not only expensive BUT VERY HEAVY to lift as you get older (over 60) it gets darn hard, but i have a portable 2 plate hotplate for camping i just love it,
it is so much quicker to cook with than the ceramic top which i also have

 

 
 

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Mel's opinion:

  • Member since: 12 Oct 12
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8 MONTHS AGO | We've had trouble with finding frypans of a big enough size. With a Neff induction cooktop a large percentage of the 'hot plate' needs to be covered otherwise the whole area does not function. Even my largest frypan does not cover enough of the biggest hot plate so only activates the smaller inner circle. This means that food near the edge of the frypan does not cook. Has anyone bought a good large frypan?

 

 
 

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kls's opinion:

  • Member since: 29 Mar 14
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8 MONTHS AGO | I have had trouble with fry pans/ skillets. If I use a high heat the base will warp so it bows upwards, then they are useless as the heat does not distribute evenly. Both times they were expensive and supposed to be good for induction. The sales team say they should only be used on medium heat, my view is its a frypan so it should cope with high temperatures.

 

 
 

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Wietse's opinion:

  • Member since: 15 Nov 13
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9 MONTHS AGO | Hello,
My question is: as there are many brands of induction cooktops and prices vary greatly.
How would I know the quality of the brand? Is the price the only indication of a good unit or are there other indications.
Looking forward to your response
Regards W van der Kooi
email: wietse@ozemail.com.au

 

 
 

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Ernie's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 Jul 07
  • 9 Comments
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8 MONTHS AGO | Hi,
good quality stainless steel is non-magnetic, so testing it with a magnet is useless.
St/St cookware suitable for induction cooking has steel embedded in its base, the same as some copper items.
I have used induction cooking for years: it is the best!
Regards, Ernst

 

 
 

Reply to Ernie

 
 
 
 

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fitzy1928's opinion:

  • Member since: 01 Oct 10
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8 MONTHS AGO | i have bought some induction cook ware my problem is the good brands are not only expensive BUT VERY HEAVY to lift as you get older (over 60) it gets darn hard, but i have a portable 2 plate hotplate for camping i just love it,
it is so much quicker to cook with than the ceramic top which i also have

 

 
 

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Mel's opinion:

  • Member since: 12 Oct 12
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8 MONTHS AGO | We've had trouble with finding frypans of a big enough size. With a Neff induction cooktop a large percentage of the 'hot plate' needs to be covered otherwise the whole area does not function. Even my largest frypan does not cover enough of the biggest hot plate so only activates the smaller inner circle. This means that food near the edge of the frypan does not cook. Has anyone bought a good large frypan?

 

 
 

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kls's opinion:

  • Member since: 29 Mar 14
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8 MONTHS AGO | I have had trouble with fry pans/ skillets. If I use a high heat the base will warp so it bows upwards, then they are useless as the heat does not distribute evenly. Both times they were expensive and supposed to be good for induction. The sales team say they should only be used on medium heat, my view is its a frypan so it should cope with high temperatures.

 

 
 

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Wietse's opinion:

  • Member since: 15 Nov 13
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9 MONTHS AGO | Hello,
My question is: as there are many brands of induction cooktops and prices vary greatly.
How would I know the quality of the brand? Is the price the only indication of a good unit or are there other indications.
Looking forward to your response
Regards W van der Kooi
email: wietse@ozemail.com.au

 

 
 

Reply to Wietse

 
 
 
 

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Ernie's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 Jul 07
  • 9 Comments
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User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | Hi,
good quality stainless steel is non-magnetic, so testing it with a magnet is useless.
St/St cookware suitable for induction cooking has steel embedded in its base, the same as some copper items.
I have used induction cooking for years: it is the best!
Regards, Ernst

 

 
 

Reply to Ernie

 
 
 
 

Report Ernie post

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fitzy1928's opinion:

  • Member since: 01 Oct 10
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8 MONTHS AGO | i have bought some induction cook ware my problem is the good brands are not only expensive BUT VERY HEAVY to lift as you get older (over 60) it gets darn hard, but i have a portable 2 plate hotplate for camping i just love it,
it is so much quicker to cook with than the ceramic top which i also have

 

 
 

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Mel's opinion:

  • Member since: 12 Oct 12
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8 MONTHS AGO | We've had trouble with finding frypans of a big enough size. With a Neff induction cooktop a large percentage of the 'hot plate' needs to be covered otherwise the whole area does not function. Even my largest frypan does not cover enough of the biggest hot plate so only activates the smaller inner circle. This means that food near the edge of the frypan does not cook. Has anyone bought a good large frypan?

 

 
 

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kls's opinion:

  • Member since: 29 Mar 14
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User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | I have had trouble with fry pans/ skillets. If I use a high heat the base will warp so it bows upwards, then they are useless as the heat does not distribute evenly. Both times they were expensive and supposed to be good for induction. The sales team say they should only be used on medium heat, my view is its a frypan so it should cope with high temperatures.

 

 
 

Reply to kls

 
 
 
 

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Wietse's opinion:

  • Member since: 15 Nov 13
  • 2 Comments
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User Profile

9 MONTHS AGO | Hello,
My question is: as there are many brands of induction cooktops and prices vary greatly.
How would I know the quality of the brand? Is the price the only indication of a good unit or are there other indications.
Looking forward to your response
Regards W van der Kooi
email: wietse@ozemail.com.au

 

 
 

Reply to Wietse

 
 
 
 

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Report Rebecca Ciaramidaro, CHOICE post

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Ernie's opinion:

  • Member since: 30 Jul 07
  • 9 Comments
  • 0 Replies
 
User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | Hi,
good quality stainless steel is non-magnetic, so testing it with a magnet is useless.
St/St cookware suitable for induction cooking has steel embedded in its base, the same as some copper items.
I have used induction cooking for years: it is the best!
Regards, Ernst

 

 
 

Reply to Ernie

 
 
 
 

Report Ernie post

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fitzy1928's opinion:

  • Member since: 01 Oct 10
  • 16 Comments
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User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | i have bought some induction cook ware my problem is the good brands are not only expensive BUT VERY HEAVY to lift as you get older (over 60) it gets darn hard, but i have a portable 2 plate hotplate for camping i just love it,
it is so much quicker to cook with than the ceramic top which i also have

 

 
 

Reply to fitzy1928

 
 
 
 

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Mel's opinion:

  • Member since: 12 Oct 12
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User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | We've had trouble with finding frypans of a big enough size. With a Neff induction cooktop a large percentage of the 'hot plate' needs to be covered otherwise the whole area does not function. Even my largest frypan does not cover enough of the biggest hot plate so only activates the smaller inner circle. This means that food near the edge of the frypan does not cook. Has anyone bought a good large frypan?

 

 
 

Reply to Mel

 
 
 
 

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kls's opinion:

  • Member since: 29 Mar 14
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User Profile

8 MONTHS AGO | I have had trouble with fry pans/ skillets. If I use a high heat the base will warp so it bows upwards, then they are useless as the heat does not distribute evenly. Both times they were expensive and supposed to be good for induction. The sales team say they should only be used on medium heat, my view is its a frypan so it should cope with high temperatures.

 

 
 

Reply to kls

 
 
 
 

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Wietse's opinion:

  • Member since: 15 Nov 13
  • 2 Comments
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User Profile

9 MONTHS AGO | Hello,
My question is: as there are many brands of induction cooktops and prices vary greatly.
How would I know the quality of the brand? Is the price the only indication of a good unit or are there other indications.
Looking forward to your response
Regards W van der Kooi
email: wietse@ozemail.com.au

 

 
 

Reply to Wietse

 
 
 
 

Report Wietse post

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