Have you started thinking, “do I need a 4K receiver for my 4K TV” recently? Probably you already have a setup, including an older receiver. But now, you’ve bought a new 4K TV, Blu-ray player, or both and are hesitant about an older but reliable AV receiver you can use for 4K content. Receivers are very reliable parts of home theater. They can serve for years, and they age technologically rather than physically.
Luckily, there are still specific workarounds that may save your wallet from costly expenditures. Here is all you need to know about connecting a 4K TV to a receiver and a general upgrade to access 4K content without getting a new receiver.
The main issue
First, let’s look at the problem that may keep your unit from being a 4K pass-through receiver. Older receivers simply don’t support 4k resolution and use 1080p. You may even use 4K-compatible HDMI cables, but those won’t do any good since the AV receiver doesn’t have a built-in chip that supports this resolution.
The same is applied to other parts of the home cinema, as a receiver is only a manager of sources and outcomes. For example, if you connect a 4k compatible Blu-ray player to the 4K ready receiver but use a 1080p TV, you won’t be able to watch 4K content, and the TV will only offer 1080p.
On the other hand, if you have a 4K TV and receiver but use a DVD player as a source – you won’t get 4K. According to the same logic, a 4K compatible source device and TV won’t do 4K with an older receiver, right? Well, there are some options or workarounds if you wish.
So, here are the main possibilities to help you solve this problem.
- Going The Old Way
- In Streaming We Trust
- Audio Return channel
The first and easiest option is to connect it to your old setup and get an honest 1080p. Indeed, this is not about watching 4K content, but a fascinating fact is that 1080p content on 4K TV will look better than 1080p content on 1080p TV.
No doubt that your TV has built-in fancy streaming services. In this case, you can grasp 4K content without problems. Here, you may not need the source device and can rely on the TV streaming capabilities. The trick is to connect your TV audio to the receiver via an optical digital audio connection. Voilà!
Speaking of the connectors, in 2022, practically all 4K TVs have those.
You are all set if you have a receiver and a TV with support for Audio Return Channel support. In this case, you can use a single HDMI cable connecting a 4K TV to the receiver.
A 4K pass-through receiver specs and technologies
Talking about HDMI, it is just enough to support the 2.0 version. It supports high-bandwidth 4K signals and comes with most 4K receivers. In addition, HDMI 2.0a adds a necessary HDR capability, which is a must for modern receivers. Newer HDMI versions are good, but you must consider your budget first. HDMI chips with 8K support are fancy, but why pay more if you don’t have an 8K-compatible system?
Regarding copy protection, HDCP 2.2 is a bare minimum in 2022 to seek when you buy a new receiver. Therefore, purchasing a unit with HDMI 2.0a or higher and without the support of HDCP 2.2 is a mistake.
If you want to consume 4K content while keeping the existing 1080p convenient video switching setup, you need your whole system to support 4K. Generally, the fancier technologies the receiver supports, the longer it will last. Yet, paying for unique features that have just appeared is not a great idea, as those are always overpriced right after the launch.