PIONEER ANNOUNCES UPCOMING UHD-READY AVRS

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Pioneer Home Entertainment U.S.A. has announced four new audio-video receivers, all with extensive networking features, simplified setup, and HDCP 2.2-compliant HDMI 2.0 connectivity. Two of the new receivers feature Dolby Atmos, allowing them to produce overhead sound effects.

A remarkable aspect of the new AVRs is the simplicity of their rear panels, as can be seen in the photo below. The number of legacy inputs has been reduced dramatically over previous generations, in recognition of the fact that most home-theatre components these days use HDMI connections. This allows for a more spacious layout and more visible labeling of inputs and outputs.

Two models are Pioneer-branded, while two have Pioneer’s premium Elite-sub-brand. The Pioneer VSX-830 and Pioneer Elite VSX-45 are 5.2-channel receivers, rated at 5×80 watts (20Hz-20kHz, 8Ω, 0.08% THD). The Pioneer VSX-1130 and Pioneer Elite VSX-90 (shown at top of story) are Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 receivers, rated at 7×100 watts (20Hz-20kHz, 8Ω, 0.08% THD). When combined with a pair of ceiling speakers, or a pair of Atmos-enabled front speakers (which bounce overhead effects off the ceiling and back at the listener), the two Atmos receivers can produce incredibly immersive multi-directional surround sound.

All four have HDMI 2.0 inputs with 18Gbps bandwidth, allowing the receivers to pass through 4K video at 60fps, with 4:4:4 24-bit colour support. The new receivers also support HDCP 2.2 content protection, for compatibility with forthcoming Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) video sources.

All have built-in Bluetooth and dual-band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi; and can stream high-res digital audio to 192kHz/24 bits and single-rate DSD (DSD 64). The VSX-1130 and VSX-90 can also stream double-rate DSD (DSD 128). They all support Apple AirPlay, as well as vTuner Internet radio and streaming services like Spotify. All four models can be operated from a smart device running Pioneer’s iControlAV5 app.

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The new receivers also have a startup app that walks users through setup and configuration. When you scan a QR code with an iOS or Android device connected to your home network, the device automatically downloads the Startup Navi app, then runs a setup wizard that gets the receiver connected to your home network. You can then use the receivers’ built-in AVNavigator function to set speaker configuration, run MCAAC room calibration, connect and name sources and more. In addition, the VSX-1130 and Elite VSX-90 have an Interactive Operation Guide application that provides lets users learn about receiver functions. When you push a control on the onscreen virtual remote or front panel, you’re automatically taken to the section of an onscreen manual that explains that function.

The Elite VSX-90 also has multi-zone capability for up to three rooms. It can send digital audio to a second zone while providing a third with an HDMI video signal. If desired, one of the zones can be powered. You can have a 5.2-channel system in the main listening area, and a two-channel system in a second zone, all controlled from Pioneer’s iConrolAV5 app. With the VSX-1130, users can use two different HDMI sources in two different rooms.

All four receivers will available in May 2015 and are shipping to Canadian dealers from warehouses in Ontario and British Columbia. MSRPs are as follows: $549 for the Pioneer VSX-830, $849 for the Pioneer VSX-1130, $649 for the Elite VSX-45, and $949 for the Elite VSX-90.

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