There are a lot of reasons why sound bars are taking over home audio, but one of them is increasingly obvious: AV receivers are terrible.
I’ve reviewed a lot of them for CNET, and while receivers are fine for enthusiasts who know what they’re doing, they’re a frustrating experience for everyone else. Most technology gets better over time, but AV receivers seem frozen in amber, with giant chassis, thick inscrutable manuals, and onscreen interfaces that could only generously be called “standard-definition.” They’re embarrassingly backward compared with the rest of your home theater gear, yet they remain a begrudging necessity for those who want something better than a sound bar.
AV receivers don’t have to be this bad, but they need to completely reinvent themselves to stay relevant. Here’s where they should start. How to save the AV receiver