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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pioneer Launches New Roku-Ready A/V Receivers with HDMI 2.0 Support, Enhanced Calibration

Despite being an "entry-level" model, the VSX-80 Elite 7.2-channel AVR has support for IP control and 4K 60p Ultra HD upscaling.

Roku recently announced plans to bundle its MHL-capable Streaming Stick with products from a select group of manufacturers. Pioneer Electronics is one of those lucky few.

To accomodate all of those streaming goodies, the company just announced five new Roku-Ready receivers. That basically means that each AVR comes packing an MHL-enhanced HDMI port on the back, which can support the Roku Streaming Stick. The Stick looks a lot like a USB thumb drive and is just as easy to operate. Plug it in and you'll have instant access to over 1,000 channels of movies, TV shows, news, sports, and more. (Just know that some of those channels do require subscriptions and/or monthly fees.)

It's also worth noting that users will be able to tap into all of that Roku content via an on-screen menu, which can be navigated through using Pioneer's free iControlAV5 app, as well as each receiver's respective remote.

Of course, each AVR also has a host of other interesting new features. For instance, the VSX-44 and VSX-80 are two entry-level Elite branded receivers, specifically designed to simplify the installation process. That comes from the RS-232 and IP control (VSX-80 only), as well as support for multi-zone and multi-source use. Also, despite being labeled as "entry-level," both 7.2-channel receivers do include support for HDMI 2.0 and 4K 60p Ultra HD upscaling (VSX-80). This newest HDMI spec gives a nice boost to the signal bandwidth, up to 18Gbps. It also has 4K60p 4:4:4 color support, which is compatible with the latest 4K TVs.

"We're incorporating the latest technologies into our products, like HDMI 2.0, so consumers are always prepared for the next big buzz in home video entertainment," said Chris Walker, director of AV product planning and marketing for Pioneer's home electronics division. "The new HDMI format is a new spec that passes high frame rate, high-resolution video playable on 4K televisions, and we're ready for it with these new receivers."

Both receivers come with a remote, as well as the option for control via the aforementioned iControlAV5 app. However, on the VSX-80, that app adds in the AV Scaling feature, so users can override a TV's native setting for a few easy tweaks on the fly.

Other features on the VSX-80 include an ESS SABRE Premier Audio DAC, MCACC technology with a subwoofer EQ, support for high-resolution music (96kHz 24-bit), and compatibility with third-party control systems such as Crestron and Control4.

Pioneer will start selling the VSX-44 and VSX-80 by the end of March, priced at $500 and $700, respectively.

They don't have the Elite branding, but the 5.2-channel VSX-824 and the 7.2-channel VSX-1024 and VSX-1124 do have the HDMI 2.0 spec and Roku Ready certification. The top-of-the-line VSX-1124 adds in the ES9006S DAC (192kHz/24-bit), the MCACC perks with the subwoofer EQ, support for high-res music, and 4K2K Ultra HD 60p upscaling.

All three models also work with the new iControlAV5 app. However, the VSX-1124 is the only one of this trio that's privy to the AV Scaling feature mentioned above.

Like the VSX-44 and VSX-80, these models will start shipping by the end of the March. Pioneer has given the VSX-824 an MSRP of $399, with the VSX-1024 priced at $499 and the VSX-1124 coming in at $599.

The VSX-1124 has the DAC and an extra AV Scaling feature when paired with Pioneer's free iControlAV5 app.

View the original article here

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