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Yamaha AVRs, HTiBs Getting HDMI 1.4

4/05/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
Buena Park, Calif. - Yamaha launched its first five home theater in a box (HTiB) receiver/speaker packages and first three A/V receivers (AVRs) with HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs, but they'll need a firmware upgrade to support 3D video, the company said.

With the firmware upgrade, all will support the Side-by-Side (Half) and Top-and-Bottom formats that broadcasters are adopting as well as the formats used for current 3D Blu-ray content, the company added.

 Yamaha’s $479-suggested 7x90-watt RX-V567 is among a trio of AVRs starting at $249 with HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs capable of supporting 3D video passthrough with a planned firmware upgrade.
Three of the five HTiBs and two of the three AVRs will support HDMI's audio return channel function out of the box.

The AVRs ship in April. The HTiBs ship in April and May. An availability date for the 3D firmware upgrade wasn't specified.

With the five new HTiBs, priced at a suggested $399 to $849, Yamaha is lowering the opening price of systems that decode all Blu-ray surround formats to $549 from $649, spec sheets show. The opening price for Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) drops to $549 from $649. YPAO automatically compensates for the deleterious sonic effects of a room's acoustical qualities.

HDMI support for 30/36-bit Deep Color and x.v. Color starts at $399 like last year.

Also like last year, company spec sheets show, all models feature proprietary Compressed Music Enhancer to improve the sound of compressed music files, Cinema DSP signal processing, and four preset Scene buttons (BD/DVD, TV, CD and radio) to activate the receiver's appropriate inputs and surround mode combinations for the selected source.

Also like last year, the proprietary Silent Cinema, Cinema DSP and Virtual Cinema DSP features start at a suggested $399. Silent Cinema delivers surround sound through ordinary headphones, and Virtual Cinema DSP delivers virtual surround without using surround speakers.

As it has done before, Yamaha is bundling an iPod dock with select HTiBs. The $849, $649 and $549 are bundled with a dock, but all of the HTiBs are compatible with the company's $99.95-suggested dock and optional Bluetooth receiver at $129. This year's dock, however, is new and adds iPhone certification, a spokesman said.

The 5.1-channel $399 YHT-393BL and $449 YHT-493BL feature 3D-upgradable 1080p-compatible HDMI 1.4 repeater connections (four in/one out), 30/36-bit Deep Color, x.v. Color, 120/24Hz refresh rates, automatic lip-sync compensation, Scene buttons, compatibility with Yamaha's iPhone/iPod dock and Bluetooth receiver, compressed music enhancer, 17 DSP programs, adaptive dynamic range control, adaptive DSP level, Silent Cinema and Virtual Cinema DSP,

Both HTiBs also feature 5x100-watt amplifier and 100-watt 8-inch sub with compact two-way speakers, but the step-up model gets larger woofers in the two-way speakers.

The $549 YHT-593BL and $649 YHT-693BL, both 5.1 HTiBs, add HDMI 1.4 audio return channel out of the box, decoding of all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, HDMI CEC, and 5x105 watt amplification plus an 8-inch 100-watt subwoofer. Both come with two-way speakers, but the $649 model uses 6-inch woofers rather than 2.75-inch woofers in its left right speakers. The $649 model's center channel speaker also gets slightly larger woofers than the $549 model.

Like last year, $849 is the suggested price at which Yamaha starts 7.1-channel amplification. The YHT-893BL features 7x90-watt amp, 10-inch 100-watt sub, analog video up-scaling to 1080p over HDMI, included iPod/iPhone dock and onscreen iPod/iPhone menu. Analog video up-scaling to 1080p started at the same price point in last year's line.

Like last year, none of the systems is packaged with DVD or Blu-ray player, and none are satellite-radio-ready.

In AVRs, the $249-suggested RV-V367, $379-suggested RV-V467 and $479 RX-V567 are the company's first AVRs with HDMI 1.4, all capable of supporting 3D video passthrough with a planned firmware upgrade. The top two models also feature HDMI 1.4's audio return channel function out of the box.

Features now available at $249, down from last year's $379, include automatic lip sync, HDMI repeater and support for 120Hz PC refresh rates, not just Blu-ray's 24Hz refresh rates.

Like last year, all models feature 30- and 36-bit Deep Color capability, x.v.YCC, Scene button, Cinema DSP, Silent Cinema, Virtual Cinema DSP, compressed music enhancer, adaptive dynamic range control, and compatibility with Yamaha's iPod/iPhone dock and Bluetooth receiver.

Decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats and YPAO technology continue to start at $379, and 1080p up-scaling of analog-video inputs remains at the $479 price point.

The $249 AVR is rated at 5x100 watts. The $379 model, rated at 5x105 watts, adds decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, audio return channel, YPAO, HDMI CEC and front-panel display of iPod/iPhone song titles. The $479 model starts the 7-channel AVR lineup, as it did last year, and adds 7x90-watt amp and onscreen display.
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