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Yamaha Adopts AirPlay, Cuts Networked-AVR Prices

4/09/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern
BUENA PARK, CALIF. – Yamaha added Apple Air- Play and iPad charging to its A/V receiver (AVR) lineup for the first time and reduced the opening price point on networked AVRs to an everyday $399 from $549.

The features appear in the latest two AVRs shipped by Yamaha in its RX series. They are the 7.1-channel RX-V573, retailing for a suggested $549 and expected everyday $499, and the 5.1-channel RX-V473, retailing for a suggested $449 and expected everyday $399.

Announcements about at least two more RX-V series AVRs are expected later in April.

The two new models follow the shipment in March of the 5.1-channel $299-suggested RX-V373, which brought multiple new features to the RX-V series’ opening-price point, including an iPod/iPhone-compatible front-panel USB port, YPAO automatic calibration and room correction, subwoofer-level adjustment, and high-speed HDMI switching.

The opening-price V373 and the two new models are also the company’s first AVRs with 4K2K video passthrough over HDMI. Yamaha hasn’t said whether it will offer AVRs this year with 4K2K up-scaling over HDMI.

All 2012 RX-V models are the company’s first with a new Eco mode to reduce power consumption when the AVRs are playing, not just when they are in standby.

At an everyday $399, the 5.1-channel RX-V473 steps up from the opening-price RX-V373 to add discrete amps versus chip amps and add networking capabilities such as Apple AirPlay, DLNA 1.5 networking certification, Windows 7 certification, and ability to stream Internet radio stations via vTuner. Internet music services such as Pandora aren’t included.

With AirPlay, users not only stream iPod/iPhone/ iPad-stored music and AirPlay-enabled music-streaming apps to the AVR, but via an iPhone or iPad, users can also remotely turn on the AVR and adjust AVR volume, the company said. AirPlay also streams music from a networked PC’s iTunes application.

The $399 price point also starts the price at which Yamaha AVRs become compatible with the company’s free AV Controller app, which turns Apple and Android devices into a Wi-Fi remote that controls such A/V receiver functions as source switching, AM/FM tuning, accessing networked content, engaging DSP and modes, adjusting volume and on/off. The app also enables users to distribute music to multiple rooms.

The AV Controller app also enables the streaming of music stored on Apple and Android hand-held devices to the AVRs. The updated app adds native support for the iPad, Android tablets and the Kindle Fire.

Also at $399, AVRs get Made for iPad certification, enabling them to charge an iPad in about an hour vs. anywhere from six to eight hours, the company said.

At an everyday $499, the RX-V573 adds 7x110-watt capability and a Zone B capability, which Yamaha hasn’t offered for years. The AVR also adds a Virtual Presence Speaker function that simulates a pair of front-height channels without adding separate front-height speakers.
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