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Pioneer Expands Elite Series

7/01/2010 09:13:40 AM Eastern
Long Beach, Calif. - Pioneer expanded its Elite series of A/V  receivers (AVRs) to lower price points and incorporated multiple new features for the first time, including 3D-capable HDMI 1.4a inputs, optional stereo-Bluetooth connectivity, Dolby Pro Logic IIz post processing to add two front-height channels, and proprietary technology to add left-right wide channels.

The $2,200-suggested Pioneer Elite SC-37 features DLNA 1.5 certification to stream music and photos from a networked PC, Sirius internet radio and Rhapsody's on-demand music service.
Those features, as well as Internet radio streaming, start at the series' new opening price point of a suggested $550. In the previous Elite lineup, Internet radio streaming started at $1,700, and the previous line's opening price was $700.

Six new models consist of the $550-suggested VSX-30, $650 VSX-31, $800 VSX-32, $1,000 VSX-33, $1,600 SC-35 and $2,200 SC-37. They ship in July and August. It wasn't clear at press time whether the company's $7,000 flagship 10-channel receiver would be carried over.

The series now overlaps in price points with the company's five-SKU mainstream AVR series, whose 2010 models were launched earlier this year at suggested prices of $229, $299, $399, $549 and $749.

 As it did last year, Pioneer is promoting Elite models' certification by London's Air Studios recording studio and THX as delivering reference-sound performance. All models are certified by THX as meeting either its Select2 Plus or Ultra2 Plus performance standards, and the top two models add certification by Air Studios, making them the only AVRs on the market to be certified by both companies, Pioneer said.

Pioneer said it is extending its long relationship with both companies to underscore its A/V specialty roots and its mission to bring the passion and emotion of musicians, music producers, post-production houses, movie producers and other creative types into the home.

 At the $550 price point, the 7.1-channel VSX-31 offers an Ethernet connection to stream thousands of Internet radio stations, four HDMI 1.4a inputs and one output, THX Select2 Plus certification, iPod/iPhone-certified front-panel USB to stream stored audio and video, playback of audio and pictures stored on other USB devices, full-color onscreen GUI, 1080p up-scaling of analog and digital video sources via Anchor Bay technology, control via a free iPhone/iPod Touch app, and proprietary Sound Retriever technology to restore fidelity to compressed-music files, including music streamed via Bluetooth. The AVR also features proprietary sound-leveling technology to even out the level disparities between audio sources, compressed-music tracks and transitions from TV programs to commercials. Proprietary MCACC technology corrects for the deleterious sonic effects of a room's acoustics.  

 At a suggested $650, the VSX-31 adds five back-panel HDMI 1.4a inputs, one front-panel HDMI input, and second-zone analog-A/V output. The $800 VSX-32 and higher models add Marvell Qdeo 1080p/24 fps video processing, HDMI audio return channel, and HDMI jitter reduction for improved sonic accuracy. The $1,000 VSX-33 adds three-zone output, with the third output being audio only. At $1,600, the SC-35 adds Air Studios certification, and at $2,200, the SC-37 adds THX Ultra2 Plus certification, RF LCD remote, Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) 1.5 certification to stream music and photos from a networked PC, Sirius Internet radio and Rhapsody's on-demand music service.

 Custom-install features in all models include RS-232C ports, interfaces with select home-control systems, two 12-volt triggers and detachable power cords.

Elite's new optional pug-in stereo Bluetooth adapter is the AS-BT100 at a suggested $99.
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