Buena Park, Calif. -
significantly reduced the prices of its two NeoHD Media Controller A/V receivers by $300, to a suggested $299 for the YMC-500 and to $499.95 for the Wi-Fi-equipped YMC-700.
The two models,
in mid-2009, let users control all connected sources via an onscreen graphical user interface and a front panel that sports only an on/off button and one large control wheel.
To the DLNA-certified YMC-700, the company also added Pandora Internet radio to the selection of streaming services available through the device. In addition, Yamaha plans later this month to launch an iPhone/iPad app to enable Wi-Fi control of the 802.11 b/g-equipped AV receiver from the Apple devices.
The price reduction makes the YMC-700 "the only Wi-Fi-enabled A/V receiver with full control via iPhone and iPad on the market for under $500," said Tom Sumner, president of Yamaha Corp. of America.
The YMC-700 also streams free Internet radio stations, the Rhapsody subscription streaming service, and PC-stored music and photos.
Both NeoHD models serve up a simplified onscreen icon-based user interface to a connected TV. All come with embedded database of IR codes to control connected TVs and sources from a handheld IR remote, also with a minimal number of control buttons. IR codes not embedded in the Media Controller can be learned by the device.
Here's how the controllers' interface works:
After a consumer hits the remote's power button, the Media Controller and connected TV power up. The TV screen presents the user with three choices: watch, listen or play. After selecting one of the choices, the display then prompts the user to choose among more specific activities, such as watch live TV, watch a movie, listen to a CD and the like. Next, icons for the requisite A/V components appear on the screen, including icons for a Blu-ray player, CD player, cable box, iPod and game console. Once the user selects a component, the component automatically powers on.
To connect with A/V components in the home, all three devices feature one HDMI output to a TV, three HDMI inputs and three IR outputs to control up to six IR-controlled sources in the A/V equipment stack, the company said. Also to connect to source components, the controllers feature two component-video inputs, one composite-video input, one analog-audio input, one digital coaxial input and one digital optical input. A proprietary dock output connects to an optional Yamaha iPod dock or to an optional Yamaha Bluetooth transceiver. A USB port connects to USB-equipped sources such as non-iPod MP3 players and USB drives. Both models feature FM radio.