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Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Spread In Yamaha AVR Lineup

Yamaha is bringing Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround decoding for the first time to its RX-V series of low- to mid-price audio/video receivers, starting the technologies at a suggested $549.

Of four new RX-V models, three will ship with Atmos and DTS:X on board. None of the three require a firmware upgrade at a later date to add DTS:X.

In Yamaha’s 2015 AVR lineup, Atmos and DTS:X appeared only in the step-up Aventage series, with Atmos starting at $999 and DTS:X upgradability appearing in AVRs at $1,299, $1,699 and $2,199. The DTS:X firmware updates for those AVRs are available today, March 30, along with a DTS:X update for the $2,999 CX-A5100 preamp processor.

The four new AVRs feature 7.2 channels, and the Atmos/DTS:X models support 5.1.2 speaker configurations. Those models, however, won’t support 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 speaker configurations when a two-channel amp is added.

Like last year, DNLA networking, AirPlay, and built-in Wi-Fi start at a suggested $449, as does Yamaha’s proprietary MusicCast wireless multiroom-audio technology.

In another change, the four new RX-V models include high-dynamic-range-capable HDMI 2.0a inputs and outputs, which also appear in a $299 RX-V model announced last week. In last year’s line, the RX-V series shipped with HDMI 2.0, though models starting at $649 were firmware-upgradable to HDMI 2.0a. The HDMI 2.0a firmware update for those AVRs is available today, March 30.

In another change, full-speed 18Gbps HDMI starts at $449 instead of $649, enabling 4K video to pass through at 60 fps with 4:4:4 color. And for the first time, two RX-V models — at $649 and $849 — get a phono input.

The company also added dialog-level adjustment to all models, enabling users to increase dialog volume.

Like last year’s RX-V models, all five 2016 models feature built-in Bluetooth to stream in content and transmit content to Bluetooth speakers. Also like last year, all five RX-V models also feature HDCP 2.2 copy protection on HDMI ports, with the bottm three featuring HDCP 2.2 on all four of their HDMI inputs and HDMI output. The top two models feature six HDMI inputs, including front-panel terminals, with three inputs and their single HDMI output featuring HDCP 2.2.

The four new models are the $849 RX-V781, shipping in June; $649 RX-V681 and $549 RX-V581; shipping in May; and the $449 RX-V481, shipping in April.

The previously announced $299 RX-V381, a 5.1-channel model without networking of object-based surround decoding, was scheduled to ship at the end of March.