Talk about multitasking: Today's audio-video receivers have to act as a hub for Blu-ray players, video streamers, game consoles, Internet radio, and other content sources – and process and relay all that data to your TV and speakers.
Few receivers under $1,000 can handle all the demands of the job, while offering the right combination of inputs, outputs, features, and power to meet your needs. One of those few is the Denon AVR-2313CI: a $900 bundle of signal-processing power that should satisfy the requirements of a 21st-century home theater.
The AVR-2313CI accepts six HDMI inputs, two component video inputs, and four composite video inputs – more than enough for even the most intense of videophiles. The receiver can output to two different HDMI sources, which comes in handy for those who, say, like to occasionally run a projector (for big-screen viewings), while keeping an HDTV set for everyday use.
The easy-to-setup AVR-2313CI plays just as nicely with audio as it does with video: producing crisp, detailed sounds. It has enough power to fill most dedicated home-theaters, and more than enough for the typical TV room. (Hook up two subwoofers if you want to spread the low-frequency effect load and increase the rumble factor.) A handy feature lets you add a second independent audio zone (in addition to your 5.1 system) – convenient for when you want Mozart in the home office while the family watches 'The Avengers' in the living room.
Connect the AVR-2313CI to the Internet through an Ethernet connection and open up another world of possible content sources, including Internet radio services such as Pandora. Or use Apple's AirPlay to stream music from your Mac or iOS devices, like an iPhone or iPad.
As an added bonus, the AVR-2313CI comes with a level of future-proofing. Denon can release upgrades to the receiver's firmware when new audio codecs come out, which means this unit should be able to stay relevant even after Dolby decides to invent yet another Pro Logic flavor. (And it's ready for ultra-high-def 4K video, too – whenever video content at that ultra-high resolution becomes available for the home.) With the power and features of many more expensive A/V receivers, this Denon may bust a few windows – but it won't break your bank. [$900; usa.denon.com]