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Yamaha Adopts AirPlay, Cuts Networked-AVR Prices


Yamaha added Apple Air-
Play and iPad charging to its A/V receiver (AVR) lineup
for the first time and reduced the opening price point
on networked AVRs to an everyday $399 from $549.

The features appear in the latest two AVRs shipped
by Yamaha in its 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 in April.

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 point, including an iPod/iPhone-compatible
front-panel USB port, YPAO automatic calibration
and room correction, subwoofer-level adjustment,
and high-speed HDMI switching.

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 $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 AV Controller app also enables the streaming
of music stored on Apple and Android hand-held devices
to the AVRs. The updated app adds native support
for the iPad, Android tablets and the Kindle Fire.

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. The AVR also adds a Virtual Presence
Speaker function that simulates a pair of front-height
channels without adding separate front-height speakers.