I've reviewed a lot of them for CNET, and while receivers are fine for enthusiasts who know what they're doing, they're a frustrating experience for everyone else. Most technology gets better over time, but AV receivers seem frozen in amber, with giant chassis, thick inscrutable manuals, and onscreen interfaces that could only generously be called "standard-definition." They're embarrassingly backward compared with the rest of your home theater gear, yet … Read more
Onkyo's rightfully known as the king of AV receiver value and its new 2013 line looks worthy of that reputation.
The company announced its new AV receivers this morning, with the step-up TX-NR626 and TX-NR727 models getting two big new features for 2013: built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. All of the models are also packed with HDMI connectivity, with even the entry-level TX-NR525 offering six inputs.
Here's how I'd break down the most-important features:
TX-NR525 ($500): 5.2 channels, six HDMI inputs, Audyssey MultEQ, networking, unpowered second zone TX-NR626 ($600) step-ups: 7.2 channels, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, … Read more
Say the phrase "AV receiver" and the experience that comes to mind is crouching behind a narrow TV cabinet with a tangle of cables, trying to wrap bare wire around a banana plug. And that's before you even get to the fun stuff, like assigning and renaming inputs.
That fact AV receivers are so synonymous with "frustration" is the inspiration for Denon's new 2013 line of AV receivers, which are shooting for "new levels of user friendliness." The company announced three new mainstream models, with the higher-end models including ease-of-use-minded features like … Read more
Every year AV receiver manufacturers tend to add one marquee feature to their product lines, and this year it looks like it's MHL.
Yamaha's new 2013 line of AV receivers consists of four networked models, plus the entry-level RX-V375, with the biggest change being that the four higher-end models each includes one MHL-compatible HDMI input. The RX-V775WA and RX-V675 have their MHL port on the front -- convenient for connecting a compatible smartphone -- and the RX-V575 and RX-V475 have their MHL port on the back, which is better for connecting a Roku Streaming Stick out of sight.… Read more
The largest number in the current lineup of Pioneer Electronics' DEH CD receivers is 9500, which means that the DEH-X9500BHS is the top of the line, but there is more information that can be gleaned from the model name. The X designates that Mixtrax functionality (more about that later) is, for better or worse, baked in, B is for Bluetooth connectivity, H is for the HD Radio tuner, and S indicates that the DEH-X9500BHS is SiriusXM Satellite Radio-ready.
What's in the box? The DEH-X9500BHS CD receiver comes with a remote control, a USB extension cable, a microphone for hands-free … Read more
The best I can say about most cheap subwoofers is they make bass. The bass won't be the deepest, most powerful, or the clearest, or blend all that well with most speakers, but all subs make bass. Better subs, like the $449 Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2, generate deeper, less distorted sound, so you can actually hear distinct bass notes, and can play louder and fill larger rooms better than most cheap subs.
LAS VEGAS--Scosche has been manufacturing car stereo dashboard mounting kits, wire harnesses, and installation accessories for so many years, but it has never offered a car stereo receiver of its own...until now.
At the 2012 SEMA Show, Scosche showed off the SCDBTA60 Car Stereo Receiver. This unit features an internal four-channel amplifier that outputs a maximum of 40 watts per channel and three preamp outputs for adding external amps. It's got a CD player and an SD card slot, and can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth (HFP and A2DP), USB, or an auxiliary input. By itself, it'… Read more
We're now in the second week of the NFL football season, and if you're a fan of the game you probably already know when and where you're going to watch your favorite team play this weekend. But when it's not game watching time in the middle of the week, or even at halftime, these are some great games that make you a part of the action without getting too involved.
There are full American football game options at the App Store like Madden NFL 12 and Gameloft's NFL series, but neither are nearly as good as what you would find on a console and the touch-screen interfaces leave a lot to be desired. That's why instead of talking about those games here, I went with easier to pick up and play arcade-like football games that won't keep you glued to your iPhone for a long time.
This week's collection of iOS apps let you focus on playing as specific players on a football team. The first focuses on running, letting you dodge tackles, and even showboat as you run into the end zone. The second lets you play as a kicker, sending the football through the goal posts or trying to get the perfect punt right by the goal line. The third puts you in the shoes of a quarterback as you swipe to make perfect passes to moving receivers.… Read more
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about AV receiver feature glut. Today's receiver manufacturers put an inordinate amount of time and money into designing feature-laden receivers, and feature glut might be part of the reason why today's receivers don't sound as good as receivers did in the 1980s. I get it, today's consumers rarely compare one receiver's sound with another receiver, but they can count HDMI connections, so that's where the money goes.
It's not that Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, and Yamaha aren't trying to make great-sounding receivers, … Read more
If you're buying an AV receiver these days, one of the main decisions you'll need to make is whether or not you care about built-in AirPlay. It's an easier call if you don't have any iOS devices, but if you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you'll definitely want to think about how you'll be using Apple's wireless music-streaming platform with your AV receiver.
It comes down to this: is built-in AirPlay a must-have feature on an AV receiver or should you just add AirPlay functionality through a $100 Apple TV? It's a tougher question than it seems on the surface, as each method has its advantages.… Read more