Downhomedigital Receivers Best 4K Compatible Receivers

Looking for the best 4K receiver? Want to know why you need a receiver at all? I know the answers. First, let’s talk about the functionality of such a device. The AV receiver is designed to control your home theater system.

Its main function is to take in audio and video signals from different sources and route them to their respective outputs. Nevertheless, modern AV receivers handle much more than audio signals. Nowadays, the AV device is the brain or the central processing unit of a home theatre system. The receiver brings movies to life and provides a user with lots of different possibilities.

Have you heard about HDCP 2.2? This is the next generation of copy protection for the 4K era, and it probably will not work with any of your current gear. What I want to say is that it is possible that the 4K TV or AV receiver you bought last year, might not be able to receive/pass all future 4K content. To successfully stream 4K or 4K HDR content, all devices connected via HDMI to your compatible streaming player must support HDCP 2.2.

The next thing that has to be considered is that to enjoy the 4K pass-through and 4K upscaling features, a High Speed HDMI cable is needed for the connection. I have tested many different ones. As for me, AudioQuest Pearl 48 HDMI cable is the greatest option since it has perfect length (5 ft) and uses solid conductors to defeat strand-to-strand interaction, major sources of distortion in cables.

4k AVR

What does a 4K AV receiver do?

The 4K pass-through function allows data to be passed through the system without degrading image quality, provided it is HDCP 2.2 compliant. The AV receiver with 4K pass-through function reproduces 4K signals from video playback equipment on 4K-compatible TVs and projectors, while maintaining 4K quality (called 4K pass-through).

4K upscaling allows you to upscale low-resolution source video (such as Full HD (2K)) to 4K high-definition signals. Thus, AV receivers with 4K upscaling allow you to view Full HD video signals via HDMI in higher quality. In my 4K receiver reviews I will tell you about devices with 4K pass-through.

How I picked and tested 4K receivers

The configuration for the test of each best receiver for 4K TV was chosen with the video capabilities of the receivers in mind. I watched Deadpool 2 to evaluate the picture quality, video handling features (upscaling, pass-through), and surround sound effects in a video. The music, on the other hand, I decided to play on stereo speakers.

Used such equipment for the test:

Our pick
Best 4k Receiver
Denon AVR-X6700H
Best 4k Receiver
Premium 11.2 channel 8K AV receiver with 140W per channel that fully supports 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos®, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X®, DTS Virtual:X™, DTS:X® Pro, IMAX® Enhanced and Auro-3D®.

4K AV Receivers Comparison Table

4K receivers Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi
Denon AVR-X6700Hbest overall 11.2 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm 8/3 yes/yes Review
Yamaha RX-V685best budget 7.2 90W/8 Ohm 5/2 yes/yes Review
Denon AVR-S540BTentry-level 5.2 70W/8 Ohm, 90W/6 Ohm 5/1 yes/no Review

Best 4K Receiver Reviews

Denon AVR-X6700H – best overall

Denon AVR-X6700H front view

This 4K receiver has a whole arsenal of innovations. I immediately note the AVR-X6700H`s principal difference from many receivers – one HDMI input and two outputs of this unit are of the 2.1. generation. Therefore, the AVR provides complete support for the 8K at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz with the content protection standard HDCP 2.3. Moreover, all HDMI inputs work well with the latest video technologies and decoders.

I also say that I was pleased with the up-scaling from HD to 8K. The quality of the scaled image is great. I saw the colorful and bright image which does not look stretched, but it has good detail. However, I pay your attention to the configuration. If upscaling up to 4K works on all ports, then upscaling up to 8K – only on one.

Denon AVR-X6700H inputs

Moreover, I discovered here 13 channel processing but only 11 power amplifiers (140 W at 8 Ohm or 175 W at 6 Ohm) here. Two extra channels need the installation of an external stereo amplifier to enlarge the speaker set. The AVC-X6700H also offers complete processing of 3D sound decoders such as DTS and Dolby. Besides, I think that the Auro-3D and cinematic IMAX Enhanced video technologies will satisfy film fans.

The first point I’d notice is powerful sound playback. Each frequency register is fully audible. However, the balance is skewed more toward the bass than in the sound of the direct competitor – the Marantz SR8015. Besides, I should say that the sound is perceived as more controlled and mature, and the extra bass volume provides complete and realistic voices and, if necessary, is quite capable of shaking a room with its sound pressure. Combined with excellent up-scaling of HD images to the 8K resolution gives the right user experience.

Denon AVR-X6700H photo

Moreover, the force and energy of sound aren’t initially amazing. However, I’m always interested in the details and expressive dynamics throughout listening. For example, dialogs are rich and emotive when they are necessary, and when the action demands, they change into a more quiet tone.

Denon AVR-X6700H has all the specs of a unit which is the best 4K AV receiver in existence. It’s well-designed and sounds equally good for Hi-Fi as well for surround. With a full suite of 3D sound technology, this model is great for watching movies in big spaces. Because the sound is so good, there is no competition in this price range. Although the sound is a little scratchy, I appreciated the sounds of home theater.

Key specs

  • Channels: 11.2
  • Power output: 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 8/3
  • Video functions: 4K/120 Hz, 8K/60 Hz pass-through, analog to HDMI video conversion, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K)
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos

Pros

  • DTS: X Pro allows the configuration 7.2.6 or 9.2.4.
  • There is the Bluetooth TX function to broadcast the audio signal to a suitable headset in addition to the speakers.

Cons

  • The receiver is very hot, even with active cooling.

Yamaha RX-V685 – budget 4K receiver

Yamaha RX-V685 front view

I’ll continue my reviews with another extraordinary model. The Yamaha RX-V685 combines almost every feature offered this year by the manufacturer, including the famous DAC Burr-Brown 384 kHz/32-bit, consisting of four Texas Instrument PCM5102A DACs.

This equipment operates with seven channels (90 W at 8 Ohm or 150 W at 4 Ohm) that offer 7.2 Flat or 5.1.2 surround configuration modes, with the opportunity to select a channel dedicated to 3D effects. In addition, the receiver has the option of allocating two extra channels to Zone 2 – either with basic amplification or with bi-amplification.

Yamaha RX-V685 inputs

Besides, for me, the ability to add one or two wireless MusicCast speakers instead of the cabled or multi-room speakers is one of the coolest sound features of this model.

The video specs of this 7.2 4K receiver are as vast as its audio capabilities. It has five HDMI CEC 2.0b inputs and two high-speed outputs which support all the most popular video technologies and, in addition, the output of 3D images with a 4K resolution, bringing together users an excellent picture for this price.

Yamaha RX V685 uses a processor for Dolby processing for surround audio. With Dolby Audio, it offers several modes (Low Volume Sound, Auto Volume, or Dual Gain mode for simultaneous treble and bass control). The Yamaha RXV685 also supports multi-channel Dolby Digital and Dolby True HD formats.

Yamaha RX-V685 photo

To handle the test setup, the power of the receptor is quite enough. Crossover control is highly recommended for this type of amplifier, including in stereo, to maintain good dynamics and sound clearness However, this 4K HDR receiver provides superior sound quality and makes a wider soundstage with a medium range of more accurate details. However, the high and low frequencies are also clearly delineated but have less detail.

If you are searching for a simple 4K upscaling receiver, Yamaha RX-V 685, which should be called the best budget 4K receiver, has much more features than most similar models. RX-V 685 offers basic functionality, including the capability to broadcast music directly via wireless smart speakers and Wi-Fi from Spotify or other network sources.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2
  • Power output: 90W/8 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 5/2
  • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos

Pros

  • Compatibility with MusicCast limits its use on other sound systems.
  • Improvement and compatibility with compressed file types.

Cons

  • At high volume levels, the sound becomes disturbed and interrupted, up to and including a complete mute.

Marantz SR8015

Marantz SR8015 front view

Marantz SR8015 is an 11.2 channel model capable of delivering 140 W/8 Ohm or 175 W/6 Ohm. The flagship of the SR series by Marantz. It is intended to conduct a large number of speakers perfectly and accurately.

And the first thing I want to focus on is the construction of the receiver. The Marantz SR-8015 uses the best components of the brand to deliver high performance in both a home cinema mode and a Hi-Fi mode. Like many high-quality receivers of japanese brands that I have already tested, SR8015 is equipped with power modules with HDAM technology. These components allow higher electrical voltages. They contribute to the musicality of this amplifier through better sound stage coherence.

Marantz SR8015 inputs

AKM AK4458 DAC, operating at 32-bit levels on each channel, is entrusted with the digital-to-analog conversion in the Marantz SR8015. In addition, with a high signal-to-noise ratio and very low distortion, this high-end chip adds to clean and understandable sound reproduction. It’s also worth noting that this amplifier employs hybrid FAD technology to eliminate jitter.

SR8015 has the best sound effects. This receiver has a superb attention to sound details. I also appreciate the frequency balance. This is true for both stereo and multichannel sound. When viewing a movie with multichannel sound, you can sense the natural depth of the sound scene and the accurate location of the items in it, which is not as obvious with the Denon AVR-X6700H’s sound.

Marantz SR8015 photo

The video section is what I immediately liked about the Marantz SR8015. Its HDMI 2.1 input supports 8K video streams, making it ideal for connecting the latest 8K game consoles or a professional theater and great listening experience. HDR support is practical with Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma, and HDR10+ technologies. Most importantly, the receiver can scale HD sources to 8K high accuracy, allowing me to enjoy viewing 8K TV completely.

The strong and functional Marantz SR-8015 is the excellent choice to enjoy a home theater experience with a UHD 4K/8K TV or the current generation of gaming consoles for the greatest premium gadget experience.

Key specs

  • Channels: 11.2
  • Power output: 140W/8 Ohm, 175W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 8/3
  • Video functions: 8K/60 Hz, 4K/120 Hz pass-through, analog to HDMI video conversion, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K)
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos

Pros

  • The 8K image remains as detailed as possible even when upscaling from HD.
  • It is possible to integrate into a smart home system by voice assistants.

Cons

  • The unit setup is complicated.

Denon AVR-X3700H

Denon AVR-X3700H front view

The Denon AVR-X3700H is a top-end device of a famous company. And with a little haste, I say that this model impressed me with its first-minute sound quality. And one of the principal features in the AVR-X3700H model and what really attracts my attention is the video circuit: one of the HDMI ports is made using the 2.1 version, which allows you to transmit a video stream in 8K resolution at 60 Hz or 4K at 120 Hz.

All HDMI ports allow using HDR dynamic content. Moreover, they are all fast media change compatible. The last technology offers immediate resolution or frame rate changes in order to prevent pictures from being cut – as well as Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10, also included in previous AVR-X models.

Denon AVR-X3700H inputs and outputs

The AVR-X3700H features 11 audio processing channels. Nine integrated power amplifiers supply 180 watts per channel at 8 Ohm. This enables the setup of this Denon receiver to 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 configurations. It is also possible to add a more powerful stereo amplifier to receive the 7.2.4 configuration signal.

As for the top-end receiver, the sound is natural and efficient. Regardless of how involved I’m with a movie, Denon never skips any detail of the sound. It transmits in a delightfully consistent way from one speaker to another explosion and gives a true impression of the place.

Denon AVR-X3700H photo

Listening to various tracks from my collection, I have found the AVR-X3700H has just excellent musicality. Immediately The cool detail of the sound, I should highlight. Keyboards and acoustic instruments sound clean and finished with great texture. The sounds do not blend into a single cacophony but sound exactly as they should.

Based on the test results, I can say that the Denon AVR-X3700H is a very balanced device where excellent images in ultra-high resolution 8K are combined with excellent detailed and powerful sound. Once again, Denon’s engineers have worked wonders, and I urge buyers to prioritize the AVR-X3700H over the older models.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.2
  • Power output: 105W/8 Ohm, 135W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 7/3
  • Video functions: 8K/60 Hz, 4K/120 Hz pass-through, analog to HDMI video conversion, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K)
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos

Pros

  • Mapping of stereo speakers is possible.
  • A full suite of wireless multimedia technology is present.

Cons

  • 8k up-scaling is not available immediately after connection and only appears after firmware update.

Sony STR-ZA3100ES

Sony STR-ZA3100ES front view

The Japanese company’s landmark Sony STR-ZA3100ES defines a new level of features and better performance in its category.

The first thing that sets Sony ZA3100E apart from its competitors is that the manufacturer is positioning its device as an excellent choice for home movie viewing. And it’s not just because of its Dolby Atmos support and advanced video circuitry. It’s mainly because the receiver has a Phantom Surround Back feature which provides surround sound that simulates two additional channels. In a 5.1 configuration, for example, it simulates the effect of having a 7.1 system.

Sony STR-ZA3100ES inputs and outputs

I should also mention that this 7.2 4K receiver outputs an actual 110 W/8 Ohm at seven channels of amplification but can boost up to 9 (using an external amplifier) +2 simulated media via the Phantom system.

Sony STR-ZA3100ES photo

Using the test configuration, I was able to appreciate the musical capabilities of this receiver fully. In the stereo configuration, the STR-ZA3100ES gives an excellent detailed sound that brings out the instrumental parts of songs perfectly. When watching a movie, the surround sound perfectly captured explosions and object positioning. The picture on the TV was excellent with both up-scaling and viewing native 4K with pass-through.

The Sony STR-ZA3100ES is a good 4K home theater receiver from a reputable Japanese brand that’s packed full of features to create an actual home theater experience. This includes full 4K/60Hz support with upscaling capabilities and, in addition, high-quality surround sound with the option to add virtual ceiling speakers.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2
  • Power output: 110W/8 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/2
  • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDCP2.2, HDR10
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos

Pros

  • The GUI is minimalist and intuitive.
  • Upscaling to 4K of top quality.

Cons

  • Wi-Fi transmission is reversed even in close proximity to the source.

Denon AVR-S540BT – entry-level 4K AVR

Denon AVR-S540BT front view

Denon AVR-X540BT is a 5.2 model capable of delivering 70 watts per channel into 8 ohms, and 90 W watts with 6 ohm speakers. Now with HDMI 2.0 ports, it supports HDCP 2.2 and UHD-4K 60Hz pass-through, 3D, and 4:4:4 sampling. There’s also Bluetooth wireless connectivity for enjoying music files stored on a smartphone or tablet and controlling the device via a free iOS and Android compatible app.

Denon AVR-S540BT inputs and outputs

Moreover, I should note that it has 5 HDMI 2.0 inputs. Three of these inputs support 4K 60Hz ultra-high-definition video streams, 3D, and 4:4:4 sampling. So I enjoyed the full potential of a UHD-4K configuration during my test.

On the audio side, I find here the decoding of the most common formats. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are therefore included and allow for a full home cinema system. And for more powerful bass and more immersion, Denon AVR-X540BT also has two LFE outputs for connecting two subwoofers.

Denon AVR-S540BT photo

In a home theater setting, the AVR-S540 does an excellent job of positioning objects. I was surprised by its frank bass and open midrange. It also showed good dynamics in sound effects. But it should be made clear that the AVR-S540 is not a good music solution designed specifically for listening to Hi-Fi. The bass lacks precision and seems choppy compared to the treble and midrange, while the sound reproduction lacks balance and cohesion.

And after my tests, I can recommend, given its 70W power for each of the five channels, to use this receiver with small to medium-sized speakers and in a relatively enclosed space. It would suit those looking for an affordable entry-level model, compatible with 4K devices and expecting more performance from movies than music.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2
  • Power output: 70W/8 Ohm, 90W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 5/1
  • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no
  • Streaming services: no
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD

Pros

  • The receiver is enough for sounding a rather large room.
  • Audio streaming is seamless, even from a distant room.

Cons

  • Connecting Bluetooth to new devices does not happen the first time.
  • The remote control does not give full control of the receiver.

Buyer’s guide

What is a 4K pass-through?

The 4K/8K pass-through function allows you to pass data through the receiver without any image quality processing, provided that all devices in the chain are HDCP 2.2 compatible. The AV receiver with the 4K/8K pass-through function plays back 4K/8K signals from video playback equipment on 4K/8K compatible TVs and projectors while maintaining the original quality.

Video upscaling in AV home theater receivers

Upscaling is scaling all incoming video signals to 8K or 4K resolution (depending on your TV). At low quality in their original form, they would look awful on your super-modern high definition TV. However, you can’t just stretch the picture – it would look even worse.

But different algorithms can be used for scaling. Some algorithms are fast but of lower quality. For more powerful devices, more complex algorithms are used. They provide a better quality of scaling.

Does the image become better when scaled?

It depends on what kind. If you scale, for example, SD to UHD, given the small number of pixels, the image will be of poor quality, just not enough pixels to improve the image. It is quite another thing to scale Full HD to UHD, in which case the pixels are pretty enough, and the image will be more detailed.

How does 4K scaling work?

Scaling an HD image to 4K requires several steps. The first is for the receiver to analyze the received signal to determine what type and resolution it is. Then noise reduction takes place, the receiver analyzes and “smooths out the edges” of the image, textures and works with detail, and then adds pixels to the original resolution to achieve 4K. It’s an incredibly complex process that requires powerful processors.

The receiver’s processor processes a vast amount of information, comparing how different elements of that image should look. Once this evaluation is complete, the image is projected to 4K quality.

The latest processors use AI, which scales the image at the pixel level. The work is not only done individually on each pixel but also on the pixels around it, on each diagonal, and on pixels across multiple frames to ensure consistent image quality.

In addition, the mashup process affects detail and image artifacts, and noise. This improves local contrast and color in the video.

good 4k receiver for home theater

What’s the difference between 4K Ultra HD and 8K UHD

4K Ultra HD has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels per frame. 8K has twice as many pixels on each side – 7680×4320 pixels. It turns out that one frame in 8K contains four times as many pixels as in 4K. Accordingly, devices require more memory for storage and higher processing and transfer speeds for an image with this resolution to run at all. To playback 8K video, you need a TV with the same resolution and a processor that can process the video or upscale the image at a lower quality.

Scaling 8K

8K resolution offers many more pixels than 4K resolution, for example, with the same screen diagonal. This means that 8K resolution has a higher number of pixels per inch (PPI), resulting in smaller pixels and much closer together, making it difficult to recognize individual pixels in the image.

Problems with the 8K?

On television with a low resolution, you are likely not to notice the difference between 4K and 8K content, simply because it is beyond the capabilities of human vision. You might see something if you sit 4-8 inches away from the screen or if your TV is more than 88 inches diagonal, but you will have to strain yourself and look for the differences on purpose. As for 8K content, for example, the YouTube app for Smart-TV generally streams video at its highest resolution of 4K, as do most online movie theaters.

While 8K video is hard to find, you can’t consider this resolution just a marketing ploy. For example, until recently, there were no YouTube clips in 4K, no movies, and no personal videos, even though UHD TVs were already being sold everywhere. Then came affordable technology that allowed you to shoot 4K video. Videos on various services followed it. They were followed by movies that were shot in 4K or just processed up to it. Now, this resolution is considered almost standard. The same path awaits 8K resolution.

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