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Yamaha Adopts AirPlay, Cuts Networked AVR Prices

Buena Park, Calif. – Yamaha is
bringing Apple’s AirPlay and iPad charging to its A/V receiver (AVR) lineup for
the first time and bringing down the opening price of networked AVRs to an
everyday $399 from $549.

The changes come with the
shipment of the latest two AVRs in Yamaha’s RX series. They are the 7.1-channel
RX-V573, retailing for a suggested $549 and expected everyday $499, and the 5.1-channel
RX-V473, retailing for a suggested $449 and expected everyday $399.

Announcements about at least two
more RX-V series AVRs are expected later this month.

The two new models follow the
shipment in March of the 5.1-channel $299-suggested RX-V373, which brought
multiple new features to the RX-V series’ opening-price AVR, including an
iPod/iPhone-compatible front-panel USB port, YPAO automatic calibration and room
correction, subwoofer-level adjustment, and high-speed HDMI switching, which reduces the time it normally takes
for an AVR to adjust to each switched source by remembering the settings of all
connected sources, the company said.

The RX-V373 also brought the company’s Scene feature
to the RX-V series’ opening-price AVR for the first time. Four
programmable Scene buttons (BD/DVD, TV, CD and radio) activate the receiver’s
appropriate inputs and other settings, including surround modes, for the
selected source.

The opening-price V373 and the two new
models are also the company’s first AVRs with 4K2K video passthrough over HDMI.
Yamaha hasn’t said whether it will offer AVRs this year with 4K2K up-scaling
over HDMI.

All 2012 RX-V models are the
company’s first with a new Eco mode to reduce power consumption when the AVRs
are playing, not just when they are in standby.

At an everyday $399, the
5.1-channel RX-V473 steps up from the opening-price RX-V373 to add discrete amps
versus chip amps and add networking capabilities such as Apple AirPlay, DLNA
1.5 networking certification, Windows 7 certification, and ability to stream
Internet radio stations via vTuner. Internet music services such as Pandora
aren’t included.

With AirPlay, users not only
stream iPod/iPhone/iPad-stored music and AirPlay-enabled music-streaming apps
to the AVR, but via an iPhone or iPad, users can also remotely turn on the AVR
and adjust AVR volume, the company said. AirPlay also streams music from a
networked PC’s iTunes application.

The AVR features an Ethernet
port, but a wireless Wi-Fi adapter is in the works to add wireless network
connectivity to this AVR and all other networked AVRs in this year’s line and
past years’ lines.

The $399 price point also starts
the price at which Yamaha AVRs become compatible with the company’s free AV
Controller app, which turns Apple and Android devices into a Wi-Fi remote that
controls such A/V receiver functions as source switching, AM/FM tuning,
accessing networked content, engaging DSP and modes, adjusting volume and
on/off. The app also enables users to distribute music to multiple rooms.

The app’s remote-control feature
will encourage consumers to use many AVR functions more often than before
because users no longer have to turn a TV on to see the AVR’s many menu
settings, the company said.

The updated AV Controller app
adds native support for the iPad, Android tablets and the Kindle Fire tablet.

Also at $399, AVRs get Made for
iPad certification, enabling them to charge an iPad in about an hour vs.
anywhere from six to eight hours, the company said.

 At an everyday $499, the RX-V573 adds 7×110-watt
capability and a Zone B capability, which Yamaha hasn’t offered for years. With
it, consumers can use a pair of second-room speakers to play back the same
audio content when the receiver is operating in stereo or 5.1-channel mode. The
AVR will also biamp front main speakers in a 5.1-channel system, and it adds a Virtual
Presence Speaker function that simulates a pair of front-height channels
without adding separate front-height speakers.

The RX-V573 and RX-V473 also
feature multi-language onscreen displays that overlay onto HD and 3D video programs.

Data such as song titles from
connected iPods, iPhones, iPods or USB drives is displayed on the receivers’ onscreen

All RX-V series AVRs in the 2012
line will offer Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio surround decoding. All will also offer 3D-capable HDMI 1.4a inputs, 1.4a outputs, Cinema DSP
with multiple DPS modes, Silent Cinema to play back surround sound through
ordinary headphones, and proprietary Compressed Music Enhancer technology,
which restores lost detail and high-frequency sounds in compressed music files.

All RX-V AVRs also feature Virtual Cinema DSP technology, which delivers
surround sound without setting up surround speakers.