If you need a new home theater receiver and like the idea of using the Roku Stick (rather than the full-sized Roku set-top-box) for your streaming, then you might be interested Yamaha’s new RX-V series of network-enabled receivers.
Yamaha announced five new receivers in the RX-V line, and four of them include networking capabilies and an MHL (mobile high definition) port. MHL is a high definition connection for smart phones and tablets, but it’s also the format used by the thumb drive-sized Roku Stick (more about Roku Stick here).
The four networked receivers include the 7.2-channel RX-V775WA, RX-V675 and RX-V575, and 5.1-channel RX-V475. They all include AirPlay, Pandora, and internet radio via vTuner. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 can also play Rhapsody’s subscription-based music service. Unfortunately neither Wi-Fi nor Bluetooth are built into the products. Users will need to add adapters ($99 YWA-10 for Wi-Fi and $69 YBA-11 for Bluetooth). The RX-V775WA includes the Wi-Fi adapter.
All the receivers will allow 4K (UltraHD) video to pass-through via HDMI (in preparation of some future 4K source), as well as 3D video pass-through. HDMI ARC is also built in. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 add 4K upscaling from analog or HDMI sources. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 have six HDMI inputs; the RX-V575 and RX-V475 have five, and the RX-V375 has four.
For audio, the RX-V775WA and RX-V675 feature Burr-Brown DACs and intelligent assignable amplifiers that automatically direct output power from the surround back speaker terminals to power either Front Presence or Zone 2 speakers when needed and back again without requiring speaker connections and setup menus to be changed. All models include room calibration with Yamaha’s YPAO system. The RX-V775WA model boasts an 8-point multi-calibration capability, which covers multiple seating positions. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 both offer YPAO’s R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control), which removes the unnatural muffled sound generated when speakers are placed too close to walls and furniture, or in other non-optimal locations.
The top three models can also be bi-amped by skipping 7.1 outpout and using the rear 2 channels to double the power to the main speakers. The 7.2-channel RX-V775WA also provides Party Mode and Zone B dual HDMI outputs.
If your center speaker is underneath your TV or screen, you can use Yamaha’s Dialog Lift feature (in the RX-V775WA and RX-V675) to raise the center audio.
Other notable performance and convenience features of the new RX-V Series receivers include:
• ECO mode that reduces the models’ power consumption up to 20 percent. The models have extremely low power consumption in standby mode and Auto Power Down can be set for two, four, eight or 12 hours;
• A subwoofer level adjustment that enables listeners to increase the bass without disturbing the system’s crossover point. The result is that vocals and high frequency sounds do not end up “boomy” or “muddy” from being misdirected through the subwoofer;
• A high speed HDMI switching function that remembers the settings of all connected sources, cuts the time it normally takes to adjust to each when they are selected;
• Four convenient SCENE mode buttons that automatically power on the receiver and make system settings for specific entertainment options.
The new RX-V Series models will be available at the following dates:
• RX-V775WA will be available in April (MSRP: $849.95)
• RX-V675 will be available in March (MSRP: $649.95)
• RX-V575 will be available in March (MSRP: $549.95)
• RX-V475 will be available in March (MSRP: $449.95)
• RX-V375 will be available in February (MSRP: $299.95)
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.