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Pioneer Elite Adds Network, iPod Features

7/02/2009 09:47:13 AM Eastern

Long Beach, Calif. - Pioneer stepped up the networking, multizone and
iPod-docking features in its latest Elite series A/V receivers (AVRs).

First-time features for the series include Works with iPhone
certification, available on all four new models, and access to Internet music-subscription
services, available on two networked models through Rhapsody and Sirius. With
iPhone certification, the receivers will mute iPhone-stored music when a call
comes in.

Pioneer Elite SC-27 A/V receiverTwo of the four new models are Elite's first to offer three-zone output
of iPod/iPhone music with onscreen display, whereas last year's models offered only
two-zone iPod output with onscreen display. The two other new models offer
two-zone iPhone/iPod output. Second-zone display of iPod/iPhone cover art and
iPod/iPhone video is also new and available on all four models:

The four AVRs, all seven-channel models, are the $700-suggested VSX-21 and $900 VSX-23, which ship
in July, and the $1,700 SC-25 and $2,000 SC-27, which ship in August. They join a
carryover flagship model, the $7,000 10-channel SC-09. The new $2,000 model is
THX Ultra2 Plus-certified, and the other three new models are THX Select 2
Plus-certified.

The top two new
models, plus the carryover flagship, access free Internet radio stations and feature
PC networking. That number is down from four networked models last year,
pushing up the opening price for the features to $1,700 from $1,300, the
company said. This year, however, the two networked models add three-zone
output of Internet radio and networked-PC music, whereas networked AVRs last
year featured only two-zone output.

The two networked
models feature Class D amplification, making them the only THX-certified audio products on the
market with Class D amplification, the company noted. Elite also offered
THX-certified Class D AVRs in 2008.

Both networked models
are compatible with Windows Vista and Windows Media Connect for streaming music,
including protected WMA downloads, from a PC. They're also certified by the
Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) as being compatible with other
DLNA-certified devices on the network.

Also new in the
series: three-zone video output, up from two-zone video. One model, the $2,000
SC-27, features HD component-video output for its second zone.

Like last year, all
models feature a front-panel USB-iPod connection, making it unnecessary to use
an add-on dock to connect iPods. The models are also packaged with a USB-iPod/iPhone
cable.

Also like last year,
all models decode all Blu-ray surround formats, offer 1080p up-scaling of
analog video sources, and support x.v.YCC, Deep Color and dialog
synchronization via HDMI.

The top three models
feature three-zone video output and dual HDMI outputs to drive two video displays.
The top three also feature Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS) multichannel
technology to deliver jitter-free audio via HDMI from a similarly equipped
Elite BDP-23FD
Blu-ray Disc player
. A two-channel version of PQLS was available in Elite
AVRs for the first time last year and became became available in Pioneer's mainstream
AVR series this year.

All four are the first Elite AVRs to get detachable power cords. All
four are also Sirius/XM-ready.