Today’s AV receivers do far more than decode surround sound and amplify it to multiple speakers. Yamaha’s $2,499 RX-V2065, for example, can access the internet through its Ethernet port to stream internet radio or WAV, WMA, FLAC, AAC, MP3 or WMA music stored on your PC. It can also access music libraries via USB and Bluetooth, and with the optional dock, play back your iPod’s playlist.

The receiver handles high definition video (1080p) and HD audio courtesy of its five HDMI inputs, which includes one on the front for connecting portable devices or gaming consoles. Two simultaneous HDMI outputs allow you to feed 1080p video to two screens at once, and three independent zones can each enjoy their own music sources at the same time.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio are supported, with output rated at 7 x 130 watts. For stereo music listening, the Compressed Music Enhancer helps make the most of MP3 files, while the Pure Direct mode enhances hi-fi reproduction though bypassing all but the most basic audio circuitry – even shutting down all video – to provide the most pure audio signal.