Pioneer offers up 4K and HDR on a budget with its new entry-level A/V receiver

Last month, Pioneer introduced two new 4K A/V receivers in the VSX-1131 and VSX-831. While the model numbers pointed to them simply being minor revisions of last year’s VSX-1130 and VSX-830, they actually added a significant number of features, mostly focusing on wireless and multiroom connectivity.

If those models had you itching to upgrade but the price point put you off, Pioneer’s latest announcement may having you reaching for your wallet. On Tuesday, the company unveiled the VSX-531 entry-level receiver, which is capable of handling the latest 4K programming, but can still be had for less than $300.

Like the models introduced last month, the VSX-531 is a successor to an older model, the VSX-530, but this isn’t simply a rebranded unit for a new year. For starters, while the old model was capable of handling 4K, the VSX-531 steps up its game with support for HDR (high dynamic range) and 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling.

The 5.1-channel VSX-531 offers up a claimed max output of 140 watts, or 80 watts per channel, with the usual frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Pioneer says that the receiver uses the same Direct Energy Design found in its higher-end receivers, as well as Phase Control, which it says prevents phase issues from taking the punch out of low frequencies. High-definition audio is supported via both Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

In addition to the four HDMI inputs on the back of the unit, the VSX-531 also features a USB port on the front for playing back music from USB devices, as well as Bluetooth. Pioneer’s Advanced Sound Retriever — which the company says can provide CD-quality sound from compressed formats like WMA, AAC, and MP3 — is included as well.

The Pioneer VSX-531 retails for $270 and is available now. For more information, see the Pioneer website.

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