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Yamaha YSP-3050: Single-speaker surround with improved HDMI support

Yamaha's YSP-3050 is nearly identical to the YSP-3000 Digital Sound Projector, but it offers analog-to-HDMI video conversion not found on the earlier model.

Yamaha YSP-3050 Digital Sound Projector
The Yamaha YSP-3050 boasts a small--but important--upgrade to the YSP-3000 Yamaaha

When CNET reviewed the Yamaha YSP-3000 Digital Sound Projector, we singled out its "limited video capabilities" as one of the main shortfalls of the virtual surround speaker system.

Yamaha must have listened, because the company has just unveiled an upgraded version that addresses that very issue. The YSP-3050 adds to the mix the conversion of analog to digital video, but it's essentially otherwise identical to its predecessor. That's not a bad thing, either: we've found that the Yamaha YSP line remains the best choice for delivering convincing virtual surround-effects from a single speaker, and its all-in-one design precludes the need to purchase a separate AV receiver.

According to the specs page on Yamaha's site, the YSP-3050 has a component and composite video input, in addition to its two HDMI ins.

The inclusion of analog-to-digital conversion means that users will be able to plug in non-HDMI devices (I'm looking at you, Nintendo Wii) and view them via the Yamaha's HDMI output--meaning that only a single cable will be needed to connect the Yamaha to your big-screen TV. (The YSP-3000, which lacked that feature, needed separate composite or component hookups between itself and the TV to view sources using those respective inputs.) We're hoping the 3050 also displays the on-screen setup menus over HDMI, which was the other big annoyance of the YSP-3000.

The YSP-3050 carries a suggested list price of $1,300, but at least one online retailer is already selling it for $100 less. Still, it's worth noting that the step-up YSP-4000--which includes twice as many "beam" drivers in its larger frame--can be found for about the same price. Yamaha YSP-3050 Digital Sound Projector.