The $549 VSX-1021 will be the first of eight AVRs, including Elite series AVRs, coming this year
with AirPlay, and they are the first of 12 Air Play-enabled products coming from
the company this year, home electronics executive VP Russ Johnston told TWICE.
The other products will be compact tabletop speaker systems.
In the $549 AVR, the company is adding another first to the line. That's the ability for up to four people at a time, via free AirJam app, to connect their iOS 4.2-equipped iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad to the AVR to jointly create a master playlist of songs to be streamed to the AVR from their Apple devices. The AVR must be connected to an optional $99 stereo-Bluetooth adapter. Each user can shuffle, select, and control the playlist and control playback volume.
Like last year, all of the AVRs in the mainstream series connect to the Bluetooth adapter, with the $549 AVR adding AirJam compatibility.
The $549 receiver, like its predecessor at that price point, also adds DLNA certification, enabling it to stream audio, video and photos from a networked DLNA-compatible PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device. This year, however, with the addition of the iControlAV2 app, consumers can now also use their iPhone, Touch or iPad to select audio content from the networked PC or NAS device for playback through the AVR.
The $549 AVR features wired Ethernet port that can be connected to an optional $149 Wi-Fi dongle with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) to simplify setup.
The $549 AVR is also the company's first to come with setup instructions on a CD-ROM and -- soon -- an iPad app. The CD-ROM and app talk 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.
An owner's manual is also included, but on networked AVRs starting with the $549 model, the owner's manual becomes interactive. A consumer who pushes a button on the AVR, for example, will have the function explained to them on the iPad or on the PC on which the CD-ROM is playing.
Also in the new mainstream-series lineup, Pioneer brought HDMI standby pass-through technology down to $249 from $749.
Pioneer also brought HDMI output with audio return channel (ARC) down to $249 from $749. And it brought vTuner Internet radio, which streams more than 16,000 Internet radio stations, to an opening price of $549. Last year, the mainstream series offered limited Internet radio capabilities in its $549 and $749 models, which featured 24 Internet-station presets whose URLs could be input by consumers via a USB-connected keyboard.
Like the models they replace, all four feature Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master decoding, 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 ins and outs, Dolby Pro Logic IIz to create front-height channels.
Up-scaling of analog and digital video to 1080p starts at the $449 price point.