Difference between stereo receivers,AV receivers and tuners

Gamer X

Feb 11, 2005
Hi everyone,I like listening to the radio,I also want to listen to mp3s from my pc.I searched the web and I really can't tell the difference between stereo receivers,AV receivers and tuners.Can I hook up a tuner to a pc and speakers or does that only apply to stereo receivers.My needs are a radio with a remote control which I can hook up to
my pc and then to two speakers so that I can switch between the sound of the pc or the
radio on the same speakers.I am doing that on an old cassette player but I need to change it and I don't need cassettes or cds or anything,just radio.I would appreciate if you also refer me to some good cheap models also,thanks.


Golden Member
Nov 21, 2002
Tuner=A radio (without amplifer or speakers) you hook up to your stereo.

Stereo Reciever= A stereo with an integrated tuner

AV reciever=A home cinema reciever, i.e. multichannel sound, usually with an intergrated tuner

I think you need a stereo reciever, unfortunately good stereo recivers are pretty rare nowadays: AV recievers dominate the market.
I doubt you can find anything cheap that does NOT have an integrated CD-player.


Senior member
Dec 23, 2004
f95toli's explanations were pretty much accurate:

A "tuner" is generally a radio tuner you hook to an existing pre-amp (switching amp) or integrated amp (pre-amp/power amp combo).

A "receiver" generally refers to a combination power amp/pre-amp/tuner that can accept inputs from other components such as tape decks or cd players.

A "home theater receiver" or "A/V receiver" is a receiver that has more than two channels of amplification for surround sound and that can switch video as well as audio. These units typically add surround sound processing as well.

I use a Sherwood 100-watt x 5-channel Dolby Digital/DTS A/V receiver for my main PC sound setup. Instead of using computer speakers, I have JBL G200 home audio speakers hooked up. I connect my PC to the receiver using a fiber optic cable connecting my Gainward VIA Vinyl sound card to the optical digital input on the receiver. It sounds really nice and I only spent about $150 on the reciever. It has AM/FM tuning so I can listen to the radio or switch over to my PC.

If you already have a computer and a good set of computer speakers, you can probably get everything you want simply by adding an FM tuner card to your computer. The tuner card will allow you to play FM stereo music through your PC, and many cards will let you blend the radio with sound effects from games while you play.

Modern tuner cards offer not only FM radio tuning but also TV tuning, so you can hook up cable and watch TV on your monitor. TV/FM tuning cards are available with or without remote controls starting around $29.

AM tuning is normally not offered because AM signals are too succeptible to interference from RF noise emitted by the computer.

Another choice to provide FM tuning for your computer and speakers is to get an inexpensive "walkman" style radio and use an inexpensive cable to hook the headphone out on the radio to the "line in" on your computer's sound card. You could play music through the computer's sound system and even record the radio on your PC. When you're not at your PC, you can easily disconnect the radio and listen to it with headphones. Walkman-style radios and PC sound cards both generally use the same 1/8" stereo plug, so a connector cable should be easy to find (1/8" stereo male connector on each end).

Hopefully one or more of these suggestions was helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions.


Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
How much are you looking to spend on this?

Do you want bookshelf speakers or floorstanding speakers?

Do you want the ability to hook up more speakers in the future to make 5.1 or 6.1 or 7.1, or do you just want to stick with 2.0 or 2.1 for now?

A good cheap stereo receiver would be this sherwood for only $70 right now

If you don't mind going refurbished, you should check out ecost.com they have nice deals on onkyo stereo and surround receiver usually.

If you want to add a sub, you don't necessarily have to have a receiver with sub-out, you can hook one up by passing speaker wires through it to one of the speakers.

If you need speakers too, Compusa has some nice deals on their Primus line right now. The bookshelves are $50 each right now and the floorstanders are $80 each. You can go into a best buy or circuit city too and check out what's available and see what sounds good to you.

If you just want to get something online and don't mind not hearing it before you buy, AV123 has a good deal on rockets that are normally $250 for a pair. They're getting rid of their cherry colored speakers and these are a great deal at half off. They're nicer than anything you're going to find at retail stores for this much.

If you want to add a sub for more bass and want to keep cost down, the sub at partsexpress made by dayton is a nice option for $125. It'll beat anything under $200 at retail stores imo.

Something you also might want to consider is getting a hometheater in a box (HTIB) which will come with a receiver and a set of 5.1 speakers. If you could do this deal you'd have a nice setup for really cheap.

Let me know if you want any other suggestions. I don't stop by highly technical very often so it might take a pm to get my attention :)

Good luck

Gamer X

Feb 11, 2005
I am really thankul to you guys,your replies are very informative.I guess I'll be looking for a good stereo receiver and speakers or HTIB.


Senior member
Aug 17, 2004
if you're looking for cheap, you really can't go wrong with mainstream manufacturers.. i.e. sony, pioneer, kenwood. it really depends on what you define as cheap tho.. if you're looking to spend a couple hundred, then i think you should go for a mini system. if you're willing to spend several hundred go with a mainstream receiver and a good pair of stereo speakers. i'd stay away from HTIB.. if you care more about the quality and you got the ears, a good pair of stereo speakers will take you further than any htib will any day.

refurbished onkyo stereo receiver

for speakers.. jbl and polk are good for low budget. jbl isn't as strict as polk or any of the other speaker manufacturers when it comes to advertised price, so generally.. you'll be able to find jbls for a much lower price online than equivalent models from other companies. there's also klipsch and nht.. which are slightly more expensive. few years back i'd say that both weren't mainstream.. klipsch kinda pulled themself out of that class, but as far as i know the quality's still there. if you can afford and are willing to spend over 400 on a pair of speakers, take a look at nht sb-3's. the finish on them is sick and they sound awesome.