Though it's been a buzzword for years, Yamaha was one of the first companies to attempt "convergence" in their range of AV gear. While the MusicCast may not have sold like the it helped in some small way to introduce media streaming to the masses. Even if companies like Apple are still struggling to popularise it.
The RX-V3800 is the latest and greatest "multimedia" receiver from Yamaha, but now that other companies have jumped upon the streaming bandwagon, how does it cope?
If you are familiar with the RX-V2700 then the design of its replacement, the RX-V3800, won't come as a massive surprise. Looking identical to its predecessor, the only giveaway is the updated model number in the corner. This model has the same damped -- and stylish -- door and brushed matt finish. With the door closed, the only visible controls are the volume and source select knobs and the Pure Direct button. The damped door in between is as classy as ever and hides the usual external inputs and FM controls.
Around the rear the Yamaha gets a little messier with almost every square inch covered with sockets. They're logically arranged, but we did find that the speaker connections are a little cramped if you're not using banana plugs.
The remote is a learning model, and is almost identical to that which ships with the V2700. It's chunky, and the playback buttons are a little small, but it's functional and pretty easy to program.
The features list also continues from the RX-V2700's good work, with music streaming, iPod connectivity (with optional dock), and upscaling to 1080p.
Music streaming and Internet radio capabilities are kept on from the previous model, though neither the interface nor the technology seems to have changed. While this is good for Internet radio, which works well and provides a decent selection of stations by default, the streaming implementation is a bit arcane and still needs a running PC to stream from.
The most significant change, and one which future-proofers will appreciate, is the addition of full HDMI version 1.3 capabilities. Some early Blu-ray disks, including our usual Mission Impossible III test disk, don't include the latest HD audio. However, disks such as Spiderman 3 include both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master soundtracks and can make the most of a receiver like the RX-V3800. For your trouble you get four of these HDMI inputs, which should last most people a good while.