Yamaha RX-V473 review: Yamaha's budget receiver is light on HDMI inputs

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.5
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Value: 6.0

Average User Rating

4.5 stars 4 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Yamaha RX-V473 has built-in networking functionality, including AirPlay and Internet radio. Its sound quality is solid with both music and movies, and it can be controlled with a smartphone app that's available for iOS and Android.

The Bad Nearly every competing receiver offers more HDMI inputs at this price level. The included remote is difficult to use, and the UI looks painfully dated.

The Bottom Line The Yamaha RX-V473 is a serviceable 5.1 AV receiver, but given that it has only four HDMI inputs, competing models offer a better value.

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AV receivers are notoriously jam-packed with features, most of which you'll never use. Yamaha's RX-V473 ($350 street price) is notably lacking many of those niche capabilities common on other receivers, but it's also light on the one feature that matters the most: HDMI connectivity. With just four HDMI inputs, the RX-V473 falls behind most of its major competitors, especially with the Onkyo TX-NR414 offering six HDMI inputs for $275. Hard connectivity numbers aside, the rest of the RX-V473's arsenal is lackluster as well, with a perplexing remote and an archaic user interface.

The sole bright spot is the RX-V473's built-in AirPlay functionality (and other limited network features), but in most cases it's better to add AirPlay with a separate Apple TV box . Most buyers will be better off with competing receivers like the Onkyo TX-NR414 or Pioneer VSX-1022-K ($450 street).

Design
The Yamaha RX-V473 looks no different from other mainstream AV receivers. It's big and boxy, with a two-tone look of glossy black on the top and matte finish on the bottom. If you're looking for something more stylish, Denon's AVR-1913 has better looks, while the Marantz NR1603 is attractively compact.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

The RX-V473's remote is as bad as it gets. It's covered in tiny buttons, most of which are unnecessary and many are poorly labeled. Even something as simple as a power button is confusing. There are two identical power buttons at the top, one to power off the receiver and one that can power off other devices if you program the remote to do so. Between those buttons is a white button with no label or obvious function; only after I looked it up in the manual did I learn it toggles the remote between controlling the receiver and other devices.

Yamaha RX-V473 smartphone app
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

The smartphone remote app is better, although not that useful. You can access music stored on your phone within the app, which is a nice plus for Android users who can't take advantage of the receiver's built-in AirPlay functionality. It's also a faster option for navigating Internet radio stations, although there's no search functionality.

User interface
Nearly all AV receiver user interfaces are hopelessly archaic, and the RX-V473's setup menus are no better. The setup menus feature blocky white text that makes it look more like the display of a Commodore 64 than a modern high-definition display. More annoying is that every time you navigate the menu, the entire screen goes blank, before refreshing again, sort of like those early, clumsy e-ink displays. It's not a huge drawback since you'll rarely need to use the setup menus, but it remains shocking how backward AV receivers are compared with nearly every other home theater device.

Yamaha RX-V473 user interface
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Yamaha RX-V473 user interface
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

The RX-V473 doesn't support many streaming-audio services, but it does have a basic user interface for AirPlay and Internet radio. Don't expect any eye candy here, not even album art, as all you get is basic artist, album, and song info.

Features

Click for a larger image. Sarah Tew/CNET

Four HDMI inputs: The RX-V473 has four HDMI inputs, which is definitely on the skimpy side for this price range. If you want the most HDMI connectivity for your buck, go with Onkyo: the TX-NR414 ($275) and TX-NR515 ($400) offer six and eight HDMI inputs, respectively. The Yamaha RX-V473 is well-appointed with the rest of its connectivity, including four digital audio inputs: two optical, two coaxial. (Check out CNET's 2012 AV receiver spreadsheet for a more detailed comparison of AV receivers' connectivity.)

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Output Power / Total 115 Watt
  • Color Black
  • Connectivity Protocols Ethernet
    Wi-Fi ready, adapter sold separately
  • AirPlay AirPlay built-in
  • Additional Features Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO)
    x.v.Color technology
    Deep color
    Compressed music enhancer
    DLNA 1.5 certified
    iPod and iPhone compatible
  • Functions AV receiver
    digital player
    network player
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type Home Theater Receiver