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You should also consider whether you want to route all your video sources such as TV, DVD player, and games console through your receiver. Doing so means you can switch between sources from one controller, very easily. But if you want to do this you'll need to make sure receiver you're interested in has enough video inputs. These could be S-Video or component inputs are best, or if you're in Europe, Scart. You should also make sure video output from receiver is of high quality, so again, it should be S-Video, component or Scart.
If you can test a receiver before you buy, its worth comparing quality of a video signal from a DVD player when its connected directly to a display and comparing it with when its connected via receiver. There shouldn't be any noticeable difference in quality.
The power rating of amplifier is also important. The bigger room you have for your home theater, more power you'll need. And makes sure that power rating is quoted in Watts per channel - last thing you want is to get home with your 100Watt receiver and discover that its power is split between eight speakers in you 7.1 set-up. It's impossible to specify how powerful your amplifier should be, but if your home theater is in a reasonable-sized room, as opposed to an aircraft hanger, 100Watts per channel should be fine.
Finally, don't forget remote control. It's key interface between you and reciever and you'll spend a lot of time using it. So make sure it's comfortable and straightforward to use. The last thing you want is to have to spend ages wading through on-screen menus to get what you want.
Kenny Hemphill is the editor and publisher of The HDTV Tuner