Latest Gadgets went down to a Pioneer product launch and were dazzled by an array of AV receivers, speakers, Blu Ray players, iPod Docks and earphones. Here are just some of the things we saw.
AV Receivers are no-one’s idea of sexy but the entry to mid-level VSX range were feature-filled work horses. HDMI 1.4 support enables them to handle 3D Blu Ray content, they can stream audio over Bluetooth and the free iControlAV iPhone app allows you to control inputs and fiddle with the dynamic range via the accelerometer (more fun than it sounds). They can also connect to internet radio over the home network. Yours to buy from June 2010 except for the premium glossy black VSX-1025 which will be available in July.
Plugged into the AV Receivers were the BDP LX53 and BDP-330 Blu Ray players, which have built in Ethernet and optional wireless dongles. Both support support 36-bit Deep Colour, can upscale DVDs and connect to youtube. And of course they work with the iControlAC iPhone app as well.
Pioneer also had three iPod docks on display – the XW NAC3 and XW-NAC1 and the XW NAV1. The creatively named XW NAC3 and XW-NAC1 both come equipped with docking stations for two iPods or iPhones at once. Silly at first glance, the “SHUFFLE” function means music can be played back from both of the docked iPods or iPhones at random. Powerful mathematics is at work allowing for a DJ-like effect transitioning from one track to the next relatively seamlessly. It’s not quite DJ Shadow-in-a-box but it’s fine for background music and perfect for Bring-Your-Own-iPod style parties.
The top of the line XW-NAC3 model offers internet connectivity via a LAN interface and is DLNA certified. The words DLNA are normally enough to have me reaching for my wallet, as DLNA devices are awesome. The XW-NAC3 is no exception. When hooked up to the net, you can access internet radio or play back music from DLNA compliant home servers – theoretically you can playback all the music in your house. There is a USB port for connecting mass storage devices to playback a variety of formats (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV or even FLAC). files stored on it. There is even a clock.
The XW-NAV1 goes far beyond an iPod dock as is more of a digital media player. It has an iPod dock (obviously) but also features an FM tuner, CD/DVD player and can connect to a TV via HDMI for a high quality, upscaled Audio/Visual experience. The composite video out allows you to watch video stored or streamed via the iPod on a TV and a USB port plays back most media files. A neat CD-to USB ripping function lets you copy CDs onto USB without getting a PC involved.
The XW-NAC3 and XW-NAC1 iPod speaker systems will be available as from June 2010, followed by the XW-NAV1 in July.