Pioneer Elite VSX receivers pack AirPlay, DLNA streaming, more

Pioneer has revealed its latest batch of Elite receivers, throwing in Apple AirPlay support along with the company's own Air Jam collaborative playlist system, which allows multiple devices to contribute tracks to a single playlist. The Pioneer VSX-40, VSX-50, VSX-51, VSX-52 and VSX-53 offer seven channels of up to 110W each, have DLNA streaming media support (on all but the VSX-40), and support external zones for multi-room playback.

The VSX-40 kicks things off with 80W x 7 channels, four HDMI inputs and one output, 1080p support and two zone audio support. The VSX-50 upgrades that to 90W per channel, adds DLNA, throws in Pioneer's Advanced Video Adjust – which automatically tweaks the picture to suit LCD, plasma or rear-projection displays – while the VSX-51 gets six HDMI inputs instead of four.

Moving on the VSX-52 has seven HDMI inputs, 110W per channel, adds Pandora, Rhapsody and SiriusXM streaming support, various image processing tech like Marvell's Qdeo, and video output to the second audio zone. Finally, the VSX-53 has seven HDMI inputs and two outputs, three zone audio out and two zone video out, and, like the VSX-52, is THX Select Plus certified.

Air Jam, meanwhile, allows up to four iPad/iPod touch/iPhones running Pioneer's free app to hook up to one of the receivers via the optional $99 AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter, each streaming music to a group playlist. All five will go on sale this summer, priced at $450 for the VSX-40, $600 for the VSX-50, $700 for the VSX-51, $900 for the VSX-52 and finally $1,100 for the VSX-53.

Press Release:


AirPlay and iControlAV2 App Enhance the Home Theater Experience for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch

LONG BEACH, CA – (June 7, 2011) – Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. 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), incorporate state-of-the-art performance and specifications based on Pioneer's uncompromising standards of engineering and manufacturing. All five new receivers utilize the renowned Elite audio and video technology and the VSX-50 and up have advanced network features like Pioneer's proprietary iPhone and iPad apps including iControlAV2¹ and Air Jam², as well as Apple's AirPlay, DLNA Certified® (1.5) and Internet radio to become the hub of a consumer's home network and entertainment system.

"By expanding on networked features such as AirPlay and DLNA, and combining them with exclusive control functions such as iControlAV2 and Air Jam, Pioneer's new line of Elite receivers is making it easy for consumers to integrate their portable devices while still providing them with superior audio and video performance they expect from our brand," said Chris Walker, director AV marketing and product planning for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

The Power of Connectivity

Starting with the VSX-50 and up, each Elite receiver is network capable, offering Ethernet connectivity to provide consumers with a wide range of new content, set-up and control of their home theater system. 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 quickly and easily 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 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 conveniently 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, enabling an entirely new way for consumers to share and play their music collection.

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 exclusive 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 thousands of high quality Internet radio stations into the living room with vTuner for endless music entertainment. 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.

Growing Mobility

Portable devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are becoming exciting and ever-expanding components of home entertainment systems. Pioneer's Elite receivers are designed to utilize the wealth of content from these types of devices as well as provide a larger emotional experience of high definition multi-channel home theater.

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 – Pioneer is placing even more home entertainment control in the hands of enthusiasts with its iControlAV2 App 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, 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 an intuitive 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.

Maximize Television Performance

Taking advantage of Pioneer Elite's long history as an industry leader in high performance video processing, 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 for a highly improved visual experience. 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 award-winning Qdeo technology. Marvell Qdeo offers a truly immersive viewing experience by capturing, processing and rendering a wider variety of video signals ranging from high definition Blu-ray Disc to portable video sources such as smartphones.

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.

AVNavigator (Interactive Assistance)

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.