Pioneer Puts Extra Smartphone Features into New Receiver Line

The four new models offer enhanced entertainment and control options.

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The 5.1 VSX-523 is on top, with the 7.2-channel VSX-1123 on the bottom.

Pioneer Electronics is cranking out a new crop of AV receivers for almost any type of home theater — and home theater budget. The 2013 AV receiver lineup will include the 5.1-channel VSX-523 and VSX-823, the 7.1-channel VSX-1023, and the 7.2-channel VSX-1123 (pictured below).

All four of the new components boast better integration with smartphones, since those are starting to become such a big part of the entertainment experience. Before we get into that, know that these units are packing a lot of power for your AV setup as well.

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All of the new models have 4K Ultra HD pass-through, HTC Connect, and the ECO Mode. The VSX-1123 can also upscale analog and HDMI video signals to 4K, when paired with a 4K display.

The top three models also support a variety of high-res music formats. New features include support for Apple Lossless and AIFF playback, as well as Gapless playback for AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV and FLAC files. The VSX-1123 also offers playback of SACD audio stored in the Direct Streaming Digital (DSD) format through its front USB connection.

Now back to those iOS options. All four of the new receivers have support for iPhone, iPad and iPod audio playback, with the top three models adding in charging for the iPad. That said, all four receivers can charge any iPhone, iPad or iPad via corresponding cables, including those with the new Lightning connector.

The top of the line VSX-1123 adds in Pioneer’s AVNavigator, an interactive user’s manual. As mentioned before, Pioneer is adding in options for its iOS apps. ControlApp is available for the VSX-823 and VSX-1023, with the new iControlAV2013 app designed for the VSX-1123.

The top three models include support for Apple AirPlay and streaming services, such as Pandora and vTuner. Each one also has the new MHL 2.0 input, with support for 3D, 1080p 60Hz, and faster smartphone charging.

Other perks on the VSX-1123 include eight HDMI inputs and HDZone, a Zone 2 HDMI out for routing the same signals as the home’s main zone offering or it can do a separate source to a second zone via HDMI. A third audio-only zone can also be powered by the receiver and controlled through the iControlAV2013 app.

Pioneer plans to start selling the VSX-523, the VSX-823, the VSX-1023, and the VSX-1123 sometime in March. The components will be priced at $279, $429, $529 and $629, respectively.

Need help picking out your next receiver? Read: Understanding Home Theater Receivers.

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