Bluetooth and Wi-Fi: Streaming with 5.1
Streaming wirelessly from a smartphone or a tablet to your 5.1 surround sound A/V receiver will naturally require you to 'pair' your device with the system exactly as you would with a stereo speaker system. With Wi-Fi capable receivers, you really need to treat those as how you would when integrating a Wi-Fi printer within your home network - any suitable media player can stream via Wi-Fi to your receiver, as long as they are all 'tapped' into your Internet router. As far as audio quality is concerned, Bluetooth is a lossy platform, which means the audio is compressed to save space at the expense of quality, but look out if your system has the aptX-capable Bluetooth streaming. AptX has really grown in popularity in the last year or so, but to coax out its full CD-rivalling audio potential, it is important to make sure that both the source (your smartphone or tablet) and the receiver are compatible with the aptX mode.
You'll notice the presence of a couple of wireless home theater systems on our list: the Denon Heos Seires and the Yamaha MUisc Cast Series. While these do have disadvantages – chiefly, that you need to plug each speaker into a mains socket to provide power for it, and that their audio quality isn't going to be nearly as good as wired systems – they have significant advantages as well, which you will realise the second you stop having to mess around with speaker cable. They even offer innovations of their own: the Enclave system relies on its own network in a discrete frequency range, taking it off your home Wi-Fi network. Sweet!