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123 of 132 people found the following review helpful
Great Network-Ready AV Receiver
on September 6, 2012
I've owned this AV receiver for a couple weeks now and am quite happy with its performance. I opted to network it by connecting it via Cat6 cable to an 8-port Gigabit network switch, which is then connected to a universal WiFi adapter that is connected to the 5-GHz band on my dual-band WiFi router. I have been able to stream Pandora, Internet radio (vTuner), and audio/video via AirPlay from my MacBook Pro with iTunes without issue.
I can confirm that the user interface experience is a bit dull (e.g. grey, no on-screen keyboard, etc), but it functions well enough, so I can't complain. I have other devices (e.g. Roku 2) with better interfaces that I'll likely continue to do most of my streaming from. The HDMI overlay setup menu is an independent mode, but I'm not sure why others are finding that to be a fault as I would not want a video stream to be playing in the background while I was trying to read the white text of the setup menu and make changes.
I was a bit disappointed to learn, after getting the AV receiver networked, that it is unable to update its firmware automatically. Instead, it detects that a new firmware version is available (after checking over the Internet) and then provides you with instructions for downloading the update from a computer and applying it with a USB thumbdrive. As a result, the primary purpose for networking the AV receiver is to enable AirPlay support.
The ControlApp works great on my Android smartphone running the "Gingerbread" (v2.3.4) version of the OS. After detecting the AV receiver, it downloads a small update to the app, which permits you to control the volume (using an on-screen dial) and toggle between the input sources. I find that I can use either the included remote control or the Android app interchangeably, without having to toggle anything on the AV receiver itself.
I use "Direct" stereo mode with some fantastic Pioneer floor standing loudspeakers with MCACC enabled. The audio output to the speakers has been incredible. I am hearing things in HDTV streams that I've never heard before.
I have a Wii connected to the Composite input and can confirm that 1080p up-sampling works without a hitch. Sometimes there is some very subtle flicker along the bottom/top of the image, but it seems to go away after a minute or two. This is an up-sampled image, so its graphical quality is not improved, but simply made compatible with the HDMI output provided to my TV.
I also have my non-HDMI Xbox 360 (in HD mode) connected to the Component input and can confirm that 720p/1080i passthrough is supported. Unfortunately, 1080p passthrough is not supported over the Component input (aside: I've verified that my Xbox 360 can support 1080p resolution by connecting it directly to my HDTV). When attempting this feat, sound was successfully played, but no image was displayed on my 1080p HDTV. After my initial disappointment, I have resolved to use my Xbox 360 in 1080i mode.
My remaining devices (Cable Box, Roku 2, and PS3) are connected via HDMI and work flawlessly. I have noticed that switching input sources is not instantaneous. The delay (usually less than 5-sec) is compounded by my HDTV going into "Searching for Signal" mode whenever a switch is made. I have an older HDTV from 2007, so newer TVs that "find" signals faster will likely have reduced delays between switched feeds. From everything that I've read, my observed delay is pretty typical of AV receivers switching between concurrently executing audio/video sources and has much to do with the amount of processing enabled. This performance is not a deal breaker for me, as I'm usually using a particularly input source exclusively for some period of time before switching to another. I have no need to rapidly bounce back-and-forth between input sources.
I am very pleased with this product and look forward to being able to test its 3D passthrough capability when affordable consumer devices begin to appear on the market in the coming years.