Yamaha RX-V573 review: Yamaha's receiver boasts AirPlay, not much else

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.4
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0

Average User Rating

4.5 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Yamaha RX-V573 has built-in networking functionality, including AirPlay and Internet radio. It can also be controlled with a smartphone app available for iOS and Android. And its sound quality is solid with both music and movies.

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

The Bottom Line The Yamaha RX-V573 is a serviceable 7.1 AV receiver, but with 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-V573 ($500 street price) is notably lacking many of those niche capabilities common on other receivers, but it also falls short with the one feature that matters the most: HDMI connectivity. With just four HDMI inputs, the RX-V573 falls behind all 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-V573's intangibles are lackluster as well, with a perplexing remote and archaic user interface.

The sole bright spot is the RX-V573'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 Sony STR-DN1030 ($450 street), while most Yamaha fans will get a better value from the RX-V473, which is largely identical but is limited to five channels.

Design
The Yamaha RX-V573 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.

The RX-V573'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-V573 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-V573's setup menus are no better. The setup menus feature blocky white text that looks 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-V573 user interface
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Yamaha RX-V573 user interface
Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

The RX-V573 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
Four HDMI inputs: The RX-V573 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, however, go with Onkyo: the TX-NR616 ($430) and TX-NR515 ($400) both offer eight HDMI inputs. The Yamaha 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.)

Click for larger image.

Built-in networking: The RX-V573's Ethernet port allows for all kinds of networking functionality, including firmware updates, AirPlay, smartphone control, and media streaming via Internet radio. I still don't think networking is an absolutely essential AV receiver feature (largely because AV receivers shouldn't be media streamers ), but it's a nice bonus. The RX-V573's set of streaming-audio apps is somewhat limited compared with competitors', so if you won't be using a separate media streamer or iOS device (with AirPlay), you'll get more options, like Spotify, from Onkyo's network receivers.

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Where to Buy

Yamaha RX-V573

Part Number: CNETRX-V573

MSRP: $549.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Output Power / Total 115 Watt
  • Color Black
  • Connectivity Protocols Wi-Fi ready, adapter sold separately
    Ethernet
  • AirPlay AirPlay built-in
  • Additional Features Bi-Amplifying
    Compressed music enhancer
    Dual-zone capability
    Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO)
    Cinema DSP digital
    Silent Cinema
    x.v.Color technology
    Deep color
    DLNA 1.5 certified
  • Functions digital player
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type Home Theater Receiver