Video scaling has been a longtime knock held against Pioneer's AV receivers, but Pioneer is addressing those concerns with the inclusion of Anchor Bay VRS processing in its Elite VSX-23TXH ($899) and VSX-21TXH ($699) models, and also the VSX-1019AH-K ($499). Of course, Pioneer's home market in Japan isn't getting the short shrift -- the VSA-LX52 and VSA-1019AH are getting the same treatment. These models will be getting an ABT1015 to ratchet input signals all the way up to the magical 1080p figure; hopefully an indication that Pioneer will take a page from Denon's playbook and include ABT scaling in all of its AVRs from here on out. Full details after the break.
UPDATE: We have sent questions to Pioneer about whether this is a mid-production spec bump, or ABT VRS has been in these models all along. We'll report back with any answers we get.
UPDATE: We got official word back from Pioneer -- the VSX-1019, 21, 23, 25, and 27 models have all had Anchor Bay VRS scaling from the initial production, so there's no need to go throwing your AVR out. We can't imagine why both Pioneer and Anchor Bay haven't touted this feature from day one, but if your eyes told you the new Pioneer receivers had great scaling, give yourself a point.
Sept. 28 -- Anchor Bay, a leading supplier of video-processing semiconductors (ASICs) and systems, announced today that Pioneer Electronics has selected an Anchor Bay video processing chip as the scaling engine for five new Audio/Video Receivers (AVRs). The ABT1015 chip, featuring the latest proprietary Video Reference Series™ (VRS™) technologies, including Precision Video Scaling™, is used in each of the five AVRs. These Pioneer products, the first ever to use Anchor Bay processing, are available now – three in the U.S. and two in Japan.
The versatile ABT1015 chip powers the video processing in the $899 VSX-23TXH, the $699 VSX-21TXH, and the $499 VSX-1019AH-K receivers, all of which are currently on sale in the U.S. market. The chip is also found in the VSA-LX52 (150,000 Yen) and VSA-1019AH (105,000 Yen) receivers, on sale in Japan.
"Pioneer is recognized as one of the world's preeminent home theater equipment manufacturers, with an especially strong and consistent history of video excellence. We're proud to announce that Pioneer has chosen our VRS technologies to provide the video processing functions in these receivers," said C.H. Chee, V.P. of Technology Marketing at Anchor Bay. "We are pleased that Pioneer has recognized Anchor Bay's industry leadership as a producer of state of the art video processing semiconductors, and reassured by their confirmation of our ability to meet Pioneer's stringent quality and performance requirements."
The ABT1015 is Anchor Bay Technologies' third generation standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) single-chip video scaling solution targeted at HDMI 1.3 DVD player/recorders, Blu-ray and AVR applications. The ABT1015 features Anchor Bay's proprietary 10-bit Precision Video Scaling™ engine that can independently scale an image horizontally and vertically to achieve an outstanding picture quality for Deep Color video displays up to 1080p resolutions. In addition to supporting HDMI 1.3 Deep Color (36-bit input and output), the ABT1015 also supports xvYCC colorimetry, two fully programmable 12-bit 3x3 color correction matrices, and allows all formats to be passed-through for maximum system design flexibility.
New Pioneer Receivers
The VSX-21TXH and VSX-23TXH are part of Pioneer's Elite product line (Elite Brand), and the VSX-21TXH has earned THX Select Plus certification. These 7.1 channel receivers have 7 channels of 110 watt amplification and feature Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD® Master decoding. Pioneer's proprietary MCACC room calibration and Auto Level Control-Multi (that maintains broadcast playback at a consistent volume so commercials won't suddenly blast at a louder volume) are also included. Certified for 'Works with iPhone', they are also both XM and SIRIUS Satellite Radio ready. The VSX-21TXH has four HDMI 1.3 inputs and accommodates two zones of A/V distribution, while the VSX-23TXH has five HDMI 1.3 inputs, two outputs, and provides distribution for three rooms.
The VSX-1019AH-K is the flagship of the Pioneer receiver line (Pioneer Brand) with 7.1 channels and 120 watts per channel of power. It provides 4 HDMI 1.3 inputs and the ability to upscale analog video signals to 1080p over HDMI. Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD® Master decoding is provided. This iPhone® certified receiver also features a brand new color Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the ability for 2nd zone A/V distribution.