You can find recommendations for speakers, stands and cables in this Pioneer SP-BS22-LR review, while we recommend the Sony BDP-S5100 Blu-ray player.
You still will have to add a TV if you want to complete this AV system but this is a great starting point for audiophiles and videophiles that will set you back less than $600!
My favorite AV receiver among the ones available today is the Onkyo TX-NR414 ($200).
While the Onkyo TX-NR414 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, which is the trend among AV gear, you can buy an Onkyo UWF-1 Wireless LAN Adapter ($24) to address that shortfall. The LAN adapter plugs into the front of the receiver’s USB port.
The TX-NR414 does have one feature that I consider key: built-in internet radio. No longer do you have to resort to an external Logitech Squeezebox to listen to internet stations, like the fantastic SomaFM Groove Salad.
Onkyo rates the receiver at 130 watts per channel but that’s a bogus rating, given the wimpy parameters of 6 ohms with 1% THD driving just one channel. A more reasonable rating would be in the 70-80 watt range. However, this Onkyo does come with TI Burr-Brown 192 kHz/24-Bit DACs for all channels, which is a big audiophile plus.
It also has six HDMI inputs and one output. While the Onkyo TX-NR414 is not AirPlay compatible, which I would have liked to see, it does, however, offer DNLA wireless capability for those with compatible gear.
For its price, you just can’t beat the Onkyo TX-NR414. Another recommended AV receiver, the new Sony STR-DN1040 ($598), has built-in Wi-Fi plus AirPlay capability, but costs three times as much.
You can easily add AirPlay to the Onkyo by buying a refurbished Apple TV ($75).
Lainie Liberti is a recovering branding expert, who’s career once focused on creating campaigns for green – eco business, non-profits and conscious business. Dazzling clients with her high-energy designs for over 18 years, Lainie lent her artistic talents to businesses that matter. But that was then.
In 2008, after the economy took a turn, Lainie decided to be the change (instead of a victim) and began the process of “lifestyle redesign,” a joint decision between both her and her 11-year-old son, Miro. They sold or gave away all of of their possessions in 2009 and began a life of travel, service, and exploration. Lainie and her son Miro began their open-ended adventure backpacking through Central and South America. They are slow traveling around the globe allowing inspiration to be their compass. The pair is most interested in exploring different cultures, contributing by serving, and connecting with humanity as ‘global citizens.’
Today Lainie considers herself a digital nomad who is living a location independent life. She and her son write and podcast their experiences from the road at Raising Miro on the Road of Life.