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First Look: Pioneer VSX-1020-K

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First Look: Pioneer VSX-1020-K

2:20 /

Six HDMI inputs, easy iPod connectivity, and sweet sound quality make the Pioneer VSX-1020-K an excellent midrange AV receiver, although it's missing some minor HDMI features.

Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, senior associate editor at CNET.com and we're here with the Pioneer VSX-1020-K. This is Pioneer's mid range AV receiver for 2010, currently selling for about $450, and it's the followup to last year's outstanding VSX-1019AH-K, which received our Editors' Choice award. The design is largely the same as last year's model with a glossy black finish and an LCD display in the center. If you pop off the cover in the lower right, you'll find an HDMI port as well as iPhone compatible USB port. That iPhone compatibility is enhanced by the receiver's graphical user interface. The interface makes it a little easier to assign inputs and make sound quality adjustments, but it will also display album art and track information if you're playing music off an iPhone or iPod. Pioneer also has an iPhone app that you can use to control the receiver instead of the standard remote. We found the app to be somewhat useful for basic functions like choosing inputs or adjusting the volume, but it felt more gimmicky when making sound quality adjustments by tilting the iPhone back and forth. If you look around back, you can see the Pioneer is packed with connectivity. There are six HDMI inputs in all including the front panel input. All of these inputs are 3D compatible, but they're not compatible with the new Audio Return Channel HDMI feature which many competing receivers have. Some competitors also offer standby passthrough which allows the receiver to continue passing video signals even when it's turned off and the Pioneer doesn't that feature, either. In terms of sound quality, the Pioneer was excellent overall. We compared it directly to the Sony STR-DN1010 and the Pioneer came out on top as we found it has superior stereo imaging. It performed well on both music and movies, although, overall, we felt the Denon AVR-1911 had a slight edge. Wrapping it all up, the Pioneer is an excellent midrange AV receiver pick with six HDMI inputs, easy iPod connectivity, and sweet sound quality but it's missing a few minor HDMI features. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.com and this is the Pioneer VSX-1020-K.

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