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Pioneer's Elite AVRs Offer Better Apple Connectivity

6/07/2011 03:09:38 PM Eastern

Long
Beach, Calif. - Pioneer's 2011 lineup of Elite series AV receivers adds an
array of new connections to Apple's mobile devices.

The
connections include AirPlay capability and the ability to use Apple's mobile
devices as a remote to direct music from a networked PC to the receivers, the
company said.

 Other features appearing for the first time on
Elite AV receivers include compatibility with a free AirJam app and a free
iControlAV2 app. AirJam enables up to four people at a time to connect an iPod
Touch, iPhone or iPad to an AVR to jointly create a master playlist of songs to
be streamed via Bluetooth from the Apple devices to the AVR, which must be
connected to an optional $99 stereo-Bluetooth adapter. Each user can shuffle, select, and control the playlist and
control playback volume.

With
the addition of the iControlAV2 app, consumers can use their mobile Apple
device to select audio content from a networked PC or NAS device for playback
through the AVR. Like an iControl AV app available last year for mainstream and
Elite series receivers, the iControlAV2 app controls the AVR's volume, bass,
balance, and room settings, selects Internet radio stations via the AVRs'
Internet radio feature, and controls Pioneer Blu-ray players.

Via
Apple's AirPlay technology, the AirPlay-compatible receivers stream music via
Ethernet connection or via optional $149-MAP Wi-Fi dongle from a hand-held
Apple device or from a PC's iTunes application.

AirPlay
and the other new Appl-related features will appear in Elite receivers due
sometime this summer at suggested retails of $600, $700, $900, and $1,100.
Earlier this year, AirPlay and the other Apple-connected features appeared in select
mainstream-series AV receivers
.

 Like before, all of the new mainstream and
Elite models, except for an opening-price mainstream AVR, features a
front-panel iPod/iPhone-compatible USB port, making it unnecessary to purchase
an add-on dock to stream audio from a connected iPod or iPhone (and photos,
video and app content with included USB cable with composite-video cable). This
year's port, however, now charges a connected iPad, whereas last year's port
only streamed content from an iPad.

Other
Elite changes include:

* DLNA
1.5 certification being reduced to $600 from $2,200 in last year's Elite line;

* a
compressed-video enhancer feature, putting it in the $900 and $1,100 models to
improve the picture quality of video streamed from the Internet through such
sources as connected Blu-ray players;

 * expanded Internet music service capabilities
by bringing the Pandora, Rhapsody and Sirius Internet music services to the
$900 and $1,100 price points, having only offered the Rhapsody and Sirius
Internet Radio music services last year at $2,200;

* and vTuner
software will stream thousands on Internet radio stations continues to start at
a suggested $600.

In
another change, Pioneer brought an interactive owner's manual on CD-ROM to the
series, starting with the networked $600 model. The CD-ROM talks consumers
through initial product hookup, asking consumers the type of products they want
to connect and the types of outputs the products have. The program then shows
the customer which cables to use and where to plug them in. After setting up a
networked AVR, consumers can push an AVR button and have the function explained
to them on a networked PC while the CD-ROM is playing.

 In other features, Pioneer starts 1080p video
upscaling at $450 price point, but starting at $900, Pioneer adds step-up
Marvell Qdeo processing. Starting at $600, Elite adds an advanced video adjust
feature that optimizes video signals by the type of connected display. As a
result, the technology enhances the black levels of video on LCD screens and
yields sharper images on front projectors, the company said.

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