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A/V Receivers At $699 Or Less Pioneer Electronics VSX-1123-K

You name the audio source, and the Pioneer 7.2-channel VSX-1123 A/V receiver (AVR) will likely not only play it but send it to speakers in up to three zones at a time.

The networked 7×90-watt (RMS) AVR supports up to three zones – a main zone, a powered Zone 2 (two speakers in a second room) and a third HDZone (from an HDMI source to a third room). Unlike competitors at the same price point, the VSX-1123 pushes different sources simultaneously to each zone, a Pioneer spokesperson said.

Sources? You want sources? How about these audio sources: vTuner Internet Radio, Pandora, and DLNA 1.5 for streaming music from a DLNA-equipped PC or mobile device. There’s also Apple AirPlay. Windows 8 certification simplifies streaming of PC-stored music.

The VSX-1123 also offers HTC Connect, which simplifies and optimizes Wi-Fi streaming of music from compatible HTC smartphones.

The AVR also connects to an optional Bluetooth module to stream music from Bluetooth-equipped mobile devices, and an optional Wi-Fi adapter connects the AVR to a home network without running an Ethernet cable to a router.

Via USB or home network, the receiver plays back a wide range of high-resolution music formats, including AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC and FLAC. In addition, the receiver offers gapless playback for AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV and FLAC files, providing uninterrupted playback of consecutive audio tracks. The VSX-1123 also plays SACD audio files stored in the Direct Streaming Digital (DSD) format through its front USB connection, through the network, and through HDMI.

The VSX-1123 also connects to video sources. A front-panel HDMI port, for example, features Mobile High-definition Link (MHL) 2.0 technology, which enables MHL-equipped mobile devices to send 1080p video and 7.1-channel audio over a wired connection to a home-theater system. The connection also charges the mobile device and enables control of the mobile device’s content playback through the AVR’s remote control. MHL 2.0 supports 1080p at 60 fps and 3D content and charges smartphones faster than the previous version of MHL did.