An AV processor acts as a hub for all of your audio and video components. You would use an audio video processor in your home entertainment center to connect your stereo DVD player and television to each other and to your speaker system.
The AV processor "processes the signal from your DVD player satellite dish, and VCR and translates it into something that your AV components can use. The AV processor will also amplify the signal from these devices theoretically making your picture and sound much better. An AV processor acts as the heart of your entire entertainment center. An audio video receiver would translate your television signal into surround sound, and dictate what sound goes to which speaker within your system.
For instance if something is broadcast in Dolby digital sound, the processor would decode the audio signal into six different signals and send each of those signals to the appropriate speaker within your system. Depending on what you want the processor to do you can pay anywhere from two hundred to several thousand dollars for a quality processor.
Purchasing an AV processor usually a big purchase so it's good to know going I what you ultimately hope to accomplish with your home entertainment center and buy an AV processor that will help you meet those goals.
You can purchase the parts of an AV processor separately, but people generally choose to purchase them as a set-in order to achieve the best quality and consistency from their particular unit.
Before purchasing an AV processor think about what your goals from your home entertainment center are, and be sure to purchase an AV processor that will not only work well for you today, but also work well for you into the future.