Pioneer 2012 AV receivers double down on AirPlay

The company's latest AV line emphasizes streaming audio capabilities.

Pioneer VSX-1122-K
The Pioneer VSX-1122-K is the flagship model in the company's 2012 receiver lineup. Pioneer

Pioneer delivered a great line-up of AV receivers in 2011, highlighted by the VSX-1021-K. That model was one of the first non-Apple products to offer AirPlay compatibility--the ability to stream any audio from iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch models. CNET awarded the Pioneer four stars, with only the Denon AVR-1912 besting it in the $500 AV receiver line-up last year.

A new product year hits the reset button, and Pioneer is back with a quartet of receivers for 2012. In addition to bristling with plenty of HDMI inputs, some of the new receivers offer a variety of ways to stream audio content, including AirPlay, DLNA, and Bluetooth options. Prices range from $249 to $599. Expect the receivers to be available for purchase before the end of March.

Here's a quick breakdown of the new models and an overview of the most important features:

Pioneer VSX-522-K

Pioneer VSX-1122-K rear panel
Pioneer

Key step-up features:

  • 7.2-channel AV receiver
  • Six HDMI inputs
  • Four digital inputs (two optical, two coaxial)
  • Second-zone functionality
  • Optional Wi-Fi adapter
  • "AV Navigator" interactive setup assistant for PC or iPad
  • $599 list price; available in April

Feature sets look decent to good at first glance, although they don't have the onslaught of HDMI inputs found on 2012 Onkyo models . Pioneer is again putting the focus on its compatibility with Apple devices, especially with AirPlay support, which is available in the affordable Pioneer VSX-822-K. The VSX-822-K looks to be the sweet spot of the lineup; the feature upgrades on the VSX-1022-K and VSX-1122-K don't seem that compelling, although they may sound better.

We'll be reviewing the Pioneer line as soon as we can get our hands on one. Stay tuned.

 

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