What HiFi: Pioneer may have pulled out of the TV market, but it has a comprehensive line-up of new products for 2010. There are two new Blu-ray players (with a pair of 3D models to follow later in the year), eight new multichannel receivers, three Blu-ray home cinema in a box systems, a trio of DVD home cinema systems, five new iPod docks and a vast array of headphones.
The two Blu-ray players, due this month, are the BDP-LX53 (£399) and BDP-330 (£299). Both new models offer a choice or wired or wireless internet connectivity, BD-Live capability. YouTube and RSS feed browsing and control via a free iPhone/iPod Touch app, but they don’t do 3D (nor will they be upgradeable to make them 3D compatible).
They have onboard decoding for audio formats up to the HD versions of Dolby Digital and DTS, and can output as either raw data or Linear PCM.
In addition they use Pioneer’s Precision Quartz Lock System to ensure jitterless digital audio transmission over HDMI to suitable Pioneer AV receivers. The system works by synchronising the digital clocks of player and receiver.
The upmarket BDP-LX53 is set apart from the mainstream model by its rigid construction, using a layered chassis and drive stabiliser Pioneer calls its ‘Armoured Chassis Concept’. This reduces vibration, and thus plays a part in the player’s superior audio performance. It’s also fitted with more advanced audio components.
Home cinema receivers
There are eight new multichannel receivers from £250 to £1200.
All of the new models (aside from the entry-level VSX-420) can be enhanced with wireless Bluetooth audio streaming and are capable of supporting 3D via the latest HDMI version 1.4 connection.
All but the cheapest two models are Works with iPhone certified too and thanks to the Pioneer iControlAV app you can use your iPhone or iPod Touch to fully control your receiver.
Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding is on board all but the entry-level model, as well as Dolby ProLogic IIz height channel processing.
The VSX-920, VSX-1020 and VSX-1025 feature the new Pioneer-developed Sound Retriever AIR specifically developed for use with Bluetooth sources, as well as internet radio.
And the forthcoming Pioneer VSX-LX53 is a replacement for the outgoing VSX-LX52 model.
There’ll be two additional high-end multichannel receivers available later this year: the SC-LX83 and SC-LX73, replacing the existing ‘LX82 and ‘LX72. Pioneer has not yet release any details on these two, but we do have a picture (below).
Blu-ray home cinema systems
Pioneer is releasing three new Blu-ray in a box home cinema systems for 2010. Key technical features common across all three models include:
• BD-Live Profile 2.0
• 1080p/24fps resolution
• 12-bit Deep Colour support
• Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential
• Wireless music playback via Bluetooth
• DLNA home network connectivity
• Made for iPod/Works with iPhone certification (iPod dock included)
• Support for DivX, DivX HD and MKV vieo files
• Support for WMA. MP3 and AAC audio files
• FM radio with RDS
There’s a five-strong range of iPod docks, building on the success of last year’s XW-NAS5. The XW-NAC3 and NXW-NAC1 are equipped with docking stations for two iPods or iPhones so, using the ‘shuffle’ function, music can be played back from both of the docked devices at random. Both models are Bluetooth-enabled too.
The XW-NAC3 also includes internet radio via the Vtuner portal, DLNA connectivity and a multiline display.
For those who want video capability with their dock, the XW-NAV1 has a built-in CD/DVD drive with 1080p upscaling via HDMI, an FM radio, USB connectivity and iPod video/photo playback (via composite connection).
Later this year, two further models will arrive: the wall-mountable XW-NAW1 (£199) and the more upmarket XW-NAM1 at £350.
iPodNN: Sony today showed three upcoming sound systems for the home that have 3D sound capability. This includes the HT-CT150 and HT-CT350 3.1-channel sound bars and the 5.1-channel HT-SF470 surround sound system. All have a 3D pass-through with an HDMI repeater that includes three inputs and one output along with another HDMI pass-through connection.
The HT-CT350 is made to work with Sony’s 40-inch and larger BRAVIA HDTVs, thanks to a bracket that attaches the soundbar directly to them. It has 400W of power, evenly split between the three speakers and subwoofer. The HT-CT150 gets 340W of power, with 85W going to each speaker and the sub. Its design mimics that of 32-inch BRAVIA HDTVs.
The soundbars otherwise support lossless linear pulse code modulation (LPCM) Blu-ray Disc audio and BRAVIA Sync for controlling compatible Sony TVs from the same remote. They also get a coaxial and optical digital audio inputs. An iPod cradle for the two soundbars can be bought separately.
The 5.1-channel HT-SF470 home theater system is 3D capable in conjunction with a Blu-ray 3D player. It’s rated at 1,000W, with the five speakers getting 157W each, and the subwoofer 167W. It gets 3D pass-through from each of its three HDMI inputs, an HDMI repeater and audio return channel. The speakers can be connected wirelessly to the receiver with optional parts. In addition to the same BRAVIA Sync, two digital audio inputs and the optional iPod cradle as the soundbars, the system also gets digital cinema auto calibration for setting up.
The HT-CT350 and HT-CT150 will ship in May, priced at nearly $400 and $300, respectively. The HT-SF470 surround sound system is due in June for $550.
TechDigest: Sony has launched a range of home cinema systems in time for the holidays, so if you’ve got a bit of money to spare and want an all-in-one package, these are worth considering.First up is the HTP-BD3iS, which combines Sony’s BDP-S350 Blu-ray player and HT-IS100 5.1-channel surround sound system that features subwoofer, powerful S-Master digital amplification, surround sound processing, and automatic audio calibration.
The BDV-FS350 is designed for smaller rooms, coupling the same Blu-ray player with a 200W 2.1-channel virtual surround sound system with 16cm active subwoofer.