A modern Audio-Video amplifier/receiver (AVR) is an exceedingly complex piece of consumer electronics, requiring expertise in many aspects of analogue and digital audio and high definition video, plus considerable software skills. ‘The anatomy of a modern audio-video amplifier’ lecture by John Dawson from Arcam for Audio Engineering Society UK is an interesting talk on engineering related to home theater amplifiers. This lecture takes a look inside the Arcam AVR600 (one of the few such units developed outside of the large Japanese consumer electronics companies) and will discuss some of the design choices made in order to try to ensure a good chance of commercial success. You can download the lecture in MP3 format.
The main points in talk are that designing a home theater amplifier is a paradox. The amplifier should be cheap to sell well. On the other hand it should be expensive to be well made (it is a very complex device). The amplifier should be designed quickly (so that it is not outdated when comes to quickly changing markets) but the design should be free of bugs. The amplifier should have all the newest features in it, but it should also be as simple as possible to sound good and be easy to use.
Image source: Arcam AVR600 web page