Entry-Level AVR Hints At Yamaha’s Full AVR Lineup

$299 model adds HDMI 2.0a, 18Gbps HDMI speed
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$299 model adds HDMI 2.0a, 18Gbps HDMI speed
Yamaha’s $299-suggested RX-V381 A/V receiver with Bluetooth, HDMI 2.0a, and 18Gbps HDMI speed.

Yamaha is offering a peek into its 2016 lineup of audio/video receivers with the launch of the opening-price RX-V381, which brings HDR-capable HDMI 2.0a connections and full-speed 18Gbps HDMI down to a suggested $299.

The new AVR is available this month in Yamaha’s low- to mid-price RX-V series.

In its 2015 lineup, Yamaha offers HDMI 2.0 ports that are firmware-upgradable to HDMI 2.0a starting at $649 in the $299-$849 RX-V series and starting at $549 in the step-up Aventage series. HDMI firmware updates for those models, however, haven’t been released, and a target date hasn’t been set.

Also in 2015, full-speed 18Gbps HDMI started at $649 in the RX-V series, enabling the passthrough of 4:4:4 color, up from 4:2:0 color, for 4K 60fps video.

In another change from last year’s $299 model, the RV-V381 offers HDCP 2.2 copy protection on all four HDMI inputs, up from one of four HDMI inputs on last year’s model.

Carryover features include built-in Bluetooth, Compressed Music Enhancer to improve the sound quality of compressed music, and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master surround decoding. Like last year, the new model lacks Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based surround.

Other carryover features include Virtual Cinema Front, which delivers surround sound when front and surround speakers are placed up front. The AVR also features Virtual Cinema DSP, which creates a surround field from two front speakers.

The AVR is rated at 5x70 watts into 8 ohms from 20Hz-20kHz with 0.09 percent THD when two channels play.

In Yamaha’s 2015 AVR lineup, Dolby Atmos was not available in the RX-V series but started in the Aventage series at $999. Aventage models starting at $1,299 featured Dolby Atmos and upgradability to DTS:X. The DTS:X firmware update is expected to be available at the end of March.


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