The return of the tube amp is something that many wish for, but there is a lot of legacy components that really do not belong in a modern stereo system, especially if you are using it in conjunction with an HTPC.  There is little point in picking up a sound card that provides HD audio if you are hooking it up to an amp that has played a Velvet Underground album on the day it came out.  Digital Trends takes a look at the modern A/V receiver and explains what the best features are, along with hints on price points for certain features.  For instance, they recommend sticking with a 5.1 system if your budget tops out around $300, the 7.1 systems that are available at that price point will lack in other features.

“Think for a minute about all that has changed on the home theater/home entertainment front during the past decade. In 2000, the video source of choice was the VCR and all your music was on compact discs. Televisions were CRT-based monsters incapable of what we now commonly refer to as “high-definition.” DVDs were just catching on, the terms “Blu-ray” and “HD DVD” hadn’t even been coined, and you were one of the lucky few if you had something as advanced as a 5.1 speaker setup.”

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