Hands on: Denon Heos AVR

Look out ugly AV receivers, Denon's Heos AVR is coming to getcha

Denon’s Heos takes the pain out of AV receiver ownership, from set up to style, delivering strong audio performance with upgrade potential for the future.

You’ve bought your sleek Denon Heos wireless speakers, you’re happy with the modern look and lack of cables, and they sound great when streaming music; but what if they could be used as wireless surround sound speakers on your home theater system? It’s not possible yet, but next year that will all change. It’s thanks to the Denon Heos AVR, a product that wants to take the pain out of looking at, and setting up, an AV receiver.

The Heos AVR looks nothing like a normal receiver. There’s a single control knob on the front, and that’s it. There’s no display, no little buttons, and no complicated slots or connections to figure out. It’s slim like a set top box, made from metal, finished in sleek gunmetal grey, and fitted with a pair of swish glowing blue accent lights — one under the box, and the other that illuminates only when the volume knob is turned.

All the connections you need are either wireless and invisible, or tucked neatly around the back. Take a peek and you’ll spot four HDMI sockets that support the latest HDCP 2.2 version, ready to handle the latest 4K content. While the surround speakers are connected wirelessly, the fronts still have to be wired up. Although it doesn’t stream video, only audio, it’ll work from any source you plug in.

The simple setup and friendly design makes the Heos AVR very intriguing.

We checked out a movie streamed through an Apple TV, with the Heos AVR unit connected to KEF free-standing fronts, a center, and subwoofer, with Heos wireless speakers on stands behind. This was in a rather large conference room, so not the best listening environment, but the sound produced filled the space, with plenty of bass punch coming through during the closing sequence of Skyfall.

A Denon representative told Digital Trends that performance would be equal to many of its traditional AV receivers, but due to it being an early working version, the specification has yet to be finalized, so we don’t know about output power yet. However, it will only run 5.1 audio, and isn’t suitable for 7.1, Atmos, or DTS:X. Connecting the Heos AVR system up to other Heos products will turn it into a multi-room entertainment hub, and it’s all controlled through the Heos app — from initial setup to multi-room control — no on-screen display necessary.

This ease of use, combined with the simple setup and friendly design, plus the ability to make further use of your wireless speakers, makes the Heos AVR very intriguing. Sound from all-in-one home theater systems often suffered, but the accessibility was attractive. Denon takes sound seriously, and unlike an all-in-one or soundbar, the Heos AVR provides plenty of expansion potential, and goes about addressing ownership and continued use in a very modern way. It’s not made for enthusiasts keen on the power and features offered by a full-on AV receiver, but for those who want convenience and performance from a box they won’t want to hide away in the living room.

Denon intends to have the Heos AVR on sale early next year, tentatively saying it’ll be in February, and that’ll it’ll cost around 900 to 1,000 euros, which equates to about $1,020 to $1,130. That’s not cheap, and you can buy a traditional AV receiver for less, but it won’t be as pretty or easy to use. What’s more, it’s a strong incentive to choose Denon’s Heos over Sonos, which only offers a soundbar, when shopping now for a wireless speaker setup. We should note here that the Heos AVR has not been introduced to the US just yet, so we’ll likely get more details once it is unleashed on this side of the pond. Stay tuned.


  • Sleek design
  • Easy setup
  • Wireless rear channels
  • Futureproof


  • There are cheaper options

Klipsch T5 True Wireless vs. Beats Powerbeats Pro: Battle of the premium earbuds

The Klipsch T5 True Wireless offer many of the same features as the Beats Powerbeats Pro, but at a significantly reduced price tag. Which pair of wireless earbuds is better for you? Let's find out.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek forms, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Act fast, Apple’s latest AirPods are back in stock on Amazon and $19 off

AirPods are the best wireless earbuds for iOS. These are perfect for everyday use or for situations where you're active or working out at the gym. And you can order the wireless charging case version now from Amazon with a $19 discount.
Home Theater

Block the outside world and tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones — there's a model for every user and every budget.

You won’t want to miss this fantastic deal on a 50-inch Vizio 4K TV

You’d think a 4K TV that costs less than $300 would lack all of the desirable features that come bundled on higher-end models, but when it comes to Vizio that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at the 50-inch D-Series, which…

Walmart takes $300 off the price of this 49-inch Sony Bravia 4K HDR TV

The Sony 49-inch BRAVIA X900F 4K HDR TV comes at a high price tag, but with its powerful performance and smart functionalities, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. Get yours now on Amazon at a discounted price of $998.
Home Theater

Find out which Hulu option is right for you with our handy guide

Hulu is a great way to catch up on your favorite shows, binge award-winning original series, and watch sports and other live TV, but you need to choose the right subscription. Having trouble deciding? We're here to help.
Home Theater

Best Prime Day headphone deals: What we expect from Amazon in 2019

Solitude doesn't come cheap, but Amazon has something up its sleeve that will make it a tad more affordable: Prime Day. That's right — the retailer's discounting top-rated headphones for its online shopping bonanza.

Walmart knocks $600 off of this massive 65-inch TCL Roku 4K TV

Have enough space for a 65-inch television and a credit card with at least $60 on it? Flip the plastic over to the numbered side, because Walmart has knocked $600 off the TCL 5-Series.

Optimize your new Apple AirPods with these tips and tricks

Here are some tips, tricks, and lesser-known features from Apple's first pair of fully wireless earbuds, allowing you to get the most out of the company's world of cordless sound.
Movies & TV

Want to make Netflix browsing even easier? Try this useful trick

If you know exactly what category of film you're looking for on Netflix, you'll find this hack for the streaming service useful. It allows you to manually browse genres and subgenres of interest.

This incredible deal on a 50-inch Vizio 4K TV won’t be around for very long

You won't find a 4K TV with more smarts than a Vizio. Just look at the 50-inch D-Series, which is now on sale for $170 off. It has Chromecast baked in for instant access to the leading streaming services.

Don’t let spotty Wi-Fi keep you from Spotify. Here's how to download your songs

Did you know you can download up to 3,333 songs on your device with Spotify Premium? The process is incredibly straightforward, too, and literally takes seconds. Here's how to do it.