Pioneer today unveiled its new line of Elite branded AV receivers designed to meet the needs of today's connected consumers and their portable devices.
The five new Elite models, consisting of the VSX-40 ($450), VSX-50 ($600), VSX-51($700), VSX-52($900) and VSX-53($1,100) utilize the Elite audio and video technology and the VSX-50 and up have advanced network features like Pioneer's proprietary iPhone and iPad apps including iControlAV2 and Air Jam, as well as Apple?s AirPlay, DLNA Certified (1.5) and Internet radio.
Starting with the VSX-50 and up, each Elite receiver is network capable. Features and apps that consumers can take advantage of with the new line of Elite receivers include:
- AirPlay - Elite consumers have complete access, control and playback of their entire iTunes music library wirelessly through their home theater system. The AS-WL300, optional wireless LAN converter from Pioneer (sold separately), is available to simplify the connection process. Users can enjoy all their music with song information and album art simultaneously displayed on a connected monitor/TV. AirPlay requires iTunes 10.1 or later and iPad, iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.
- Air Jam - Encouraging social connectivity via entertainment devices, Pioneer's free Air Jam App is available from the App store for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or at www.apple.com/itunes/. Compatible with four of the five Elite receivers, the app allows pairing of up to four devices via Bluetooth (optional AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter required). Once linked, each individual can cue songs from their own music libraries to create a shared playlist to play back on the AV Receiver. Each connected device also displays the list of songs added by all the users and which device a song plays from. The Air Jam App stores the lists of songs created for each session for future purchases at the iTunes Store.
- DLNA Certified (1.5) - The new line of Elite receivers are also DLNA Certified (1.5), allowing music content to be shared from a PC to the receiver via the consumers' home network. Through Ethernet or the optional AS-WL300 wireless LAN converter (sold separately), each receiver can access and play high resolution music (up to 192kHz/24-Bit). Audio can also be streamed and controlled through the Elite receivers using a device that supports UPnP / DLNA media servers and renderers.
- Bluetooth Audio Streaming - With the optional Bluetooth adapter, the entire lineup of receivers features wireless Bluetooth transfer of audio content from any A2DP Bluetooth wireless enabled mobile device or personal computer. Pioneer's AS-BT200 ($99) Bluetooth adapter allows listeners to keep their phone close to them while they enjoy music through their home theater system. And, with Pioneer's Sound Retriever AIR technology, specifically designed to enhance Bluetooth audio transmissions, music playback delivered through Bluetooth is near-CD sound quality.
- vTuner - The line also brings high quality Internet radio stations into the living room with vTuner. The feature is further enhanced on the VSX-52 and VSX-53 with the addition of other Internet radio based music services such as PANDORA.
Each receiver in the lineup is "Made for iPad, iPhone and iPod" and comes with a free USB/video cable to provide an "out of the box plug-and-play" convenience. Consumers can enjoy audio, video and photos stored on their mobile device with no "optional dock required," in addition to charging while plugged into the receivers.
iControlAV2 - The iControlAV2 App is enabling an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to control four out of the five Elite receivers. Available free from the App store for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch or www.apple.com/itunes/, the iControlAV2 App controls volume, bass, balance and room settings as well as the ability for the user to choose Internet radio stations and music files from network-attached storage (NAS) on a home network. For iPad users, the iControlAV2 integrates all four app controls into a single screen. The app also includes control for Pioneer Blu-ray Disc players. Additional features include sound adjustments that enable users to create their own equalizer settings by simply drawing their desired equalizer curve on the screen and for iPad consumers, detailed graphic representations of before and after Pioneer's MCACC room calibration feature.
The 2011 Elite receivers use proprietary enhancing technologies to maximize the user's television performance with video conversion and scaling, image enhancement, and video adjustment for detail, sharpness, brightness, contrast, chroma level and black level for individual video sources. To enhance the video performance from any source connected, Elite receivers convert analog signals to HDMI and scale both analog and digital signals to 1080p resolution. Additional technologies include Marvell Qdeo processing, Advanced Video Adjust and Stream Smoother to enhance the picture quality of any source.
Marvell Qdeo video processors - The top Elite models, the VSX-52 and VSX-53, offer high quality video processing for maximum performance and flexibility powered by Marvell's Qdeo technology.
Advanced Video Adjust - Available on the VSX-50 and up, Pioneer's new Advanced Video Adjust technology automatically optimizes video signals by the type of display (selected manually) connected to the receivers, such as Plasma, LCD and Front Projector. For example, the receivers can reproduce a detailed and virtually noiseless image on Plasma panels, enhance the black level of LCD displays, and produce sharper, more vivid image matching for front projectors. The receivers can further adjust and enhance images based on the user's viewing distance from their display by utilizing the distance information established during MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System) calibration to determine how much adjustment is necessary.
Stream Smoother - Pioneer is among the first to create its own technology to enhance compressed video files with Stream Smoother, available on the VSX-52 and VSX-53 models. The feature automatically calibrates images coming from the Internet via other devices such as Blu-ray Disc players reducing compression noise and establishing more detailed, finer images. The technology is especially helpful with low bit-rate video sources originally intended for viewing on small screens.
Wiring Navi - Pioneer is making the installation process for each receiver simple by providing consumers an interactive guide application with the use of a Window-based PC. Users simply answer a series of questions about the hardware connected to the system and the application will automatically update the receiver with the correct settings.
Interactive Manual - Once the receiver is connected using the Wiring Navi application set up, the Interactive Manual application provides a linked two-way interactive manual giving users a way to quickly learn about all of the new features of each AV receiver (i.e. a push of the ALC button on the front of the receiver will take the user directly to the portion of the manual that explains the Automatic Level Control feature). Alternately, users can click on a section of the owner's manual and the feature of the receiver will automatically activate (i.e. when the user clicks on the FL Dimmer section of the owner?s manual, the Front Panel Display of the receiver will dim).
The new line of Elite AV receiver models will be available in the summer of 2011.