Video: Yamaha RX-V1900, RX-V3900, & RX-Z7 Receivers

Crutchfield experts Amanda and Julie discuss the key features of Yamaha's RX-V1900, RX-V3900 and RX-Z7 home theater receivers.

Julie: Hi. I'm Julie.

Amanda: And I'm Amanda, and we're here in the Crutchfield studio today with Yamaha's RX-V1900, RX-V3900, and RX-Z7 home theater receivers.

Julie: Right.

Amanda: 'Z7's right here. And to start off, Yamaha has just an excellent, well-earned reputation for really good sound.

Julie: Yeah, they actually started as a musical instrument company in 1887.

Amanda: Long time.

Julie: And they've carried that mission to provide really awesome sound all the way down through to this line of receivers.

Amanda: Definitely. And they do have some features that are really well suited to music lovers.

Julie: Yep.

Amanda: For example, they all three have built in HD Radio™ tuners.

Julie: That's nice.

Amanda: Let's you pull in those free local digital channels. They sound better that regular AM and FM. A good bit better. And they're also XM and Sirius Satellite radio ready so you get lots of music options there as well.

Julie: Very useful. You also get plenty of power. At least as much as most people are ever going to need. With the '1900 you get 130 watts x 7 channels. With the '3900 and the 'Z7 here, you get 140 watts x 7.

Amanda: That's a generous amount of power.

Julie: It really is. You also get built in loss format decoding on all three receivers. That means the formats that we associate with Blu-ray, Dolby® TrueHD, and DTS-HD™ Master Audio, these receivers can all handle of them, and they're going to send them out to your home theater system. And that audio is impressive. It's akin to the studio master.

Amanda: Yeah. It's really very detailed. And to help you really make the most of that very detailed sound all three of these receivers feature eight-point automatic speaker calibration. So all you have to do is plug this little microphone here in a jack in the front panel.

Julie: Yep.

Amanda: You can put it in up to eight of your favorite listening spots, and the receivers just, they listen to your speakers, they listen to your room, they set all the appropriate settings and they get just really dialed in so you get the most, you know, detailed and precise surround effects and imaging that you can. And it's not just for one spot like it can sometimes be, it's for everyone in your room really.

Julie: Exactly. So you also get 1080p upconversion with all three of these. That's going to be nice if you've got a DVD player and you want to be able to see that signal on your HDTV as a full 1080p signal.

Amanda: Just one cable, HDMI, and you're done. And one last little tidbit too. They all three offer quite flexible multi-room music capability.

Julie: Right.

Amanda: They can all work as your home theater receiver and then send music out to two other rooms as well. So those are the features that all three models have in common. Now we're going to dig into the details of what sets the '3900 and the 'Z7 apart.

Julie: That's right. So starting with the '3900, whereas the '1900 gave you four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, the '3900 adds a second HDMI output. And that's going to be useful if you're going ahead and connecting both a projector and a flat-panel television to the same receiver. You might have that in a room where you do both event viewing, people come over for the game, and everyday TV watching. And with two HDMI outputs, you connect both of them, and you don't have to disconnect and reconnect.

Amanda: Very convenient. Now the '3900 also includes some really high-quality video processing from a company called Anchor Bay. Now they're very well respected in the industry for their video quality and you're going to get just a pristine very high quality picture from this receiver.

Julie: It's nice to see that in a receiver, because a lot of receivers focus on maybe the audio quality and not so much on putting superb video processing in.

Amanda: Yeah, it's very balanced.

Julie: Another video feature that I like to see is that this has HDMI-to-HDMI upconversion. And what that means is that if you've got an HD cable box or and HD satellite receiver, and you're only getting 720p or 1080i signals out of those, you're going to be able to upconvert them. You just make an HDMI connection to your '3900, and your '3900 will upconvert that signal to 1080p, it'll pass it along to your television, and there you go. You actually then will get 1080p on those major sources.

Amanda: Wow. Definitely nice. A couple of other things I wanted to mention. First, the '3900 offers wired PC networking, which is something we're seeing on more and more receivers these days, and it also gives you a second room video output. Now it's composite video, it's not high-def, but if you want to take advantage of the sources you have in your main room and enjoy them in a second room, it's a great way to do that.

Julie: Like a kid's room or a kitchen.

Amanda: Definitely.

Julie: So the RX-Z7 takes all the features we just talked about for the '1900 and the '3900 and it adds even more. You get five HDMI inputs including one front-panel HDMI input. And that's pretty special, because this receiver is beyond substantial — it would really not be fun to drag out of your component rack in order to make say a temporary HDMI connection.

Amanda: A camcorder or a camera or something like that.

Julie: Right. So being able to make that connection on the front panel for when you need it, unplug it quickly for when you don't, really nice.

Amanda: Definitely.

Julie: You also get built in video adjustments for up to six components. Now the reason that's useful is because no two components send out a video signal looking exactly the same way, and most of the time they need a little optimization to look their best on your television. Yet, because they're not the same you can't make a single adjustment and have them all look good.

Amanda: No.

Julie: So you might want to set up your Blu-ray player to have less brightness and more detail and your gaming system to reverse that. Well, with these video adjustments what you do is you set custom presets for each source you're connecting. The receiver remembers what you've chosen and every time you choose that source, it applies the adjustments that make the signal look its best and off the signal goes to your television.

Amanda: And I have to say this is a feature that I wish my receiver had at home. I love it, but we've got all of our video sources going into it, going off to the TV via one cable, so we can't take advantage of the presets that our TV can handle. And we find ourselves kind of fiddling with stuff periodically as we switch between sources, so something like that would be really, really useful for us.

Julie: And I'm always surprised that more receivers don't do this.

Amanda: Yeah, definitely.

Julie: But this one does.

Amanda: Yay! Now something else the 'Z7 gives you is a second room component video output. That's up from composite that we saw in the '3900, and component video means you can do HD in a second room, which is awesome. And it also has an optical digital audio output you can send to another room and that means you can send a full digital surround sound signal, connect that cable to another surround sound receiver in that room and then you've got full surround sound, high-def video. It's pretty awesome.

Julie: Yep, it's a great way to share sources through multiple rooms. One other thing we need to mention for the 'Z7: whereas the '1900 and the '3900 both have two-year warranties —

Amanda: Very respectable.

Julie: Right. The 'Z7 has a five-year warranty. When you see a five-year warranty, you know that Yamaha absolutely has built this receiver to withstand years and years of steady use and to come out on top. So if they have faith in it, you can have faith in it.

Amanda: Definitely. So, to sum up.

Julie: The '1900 is a full featured, powerful receiver that you can use in just about any home theater system.

Amanda: Definitely. The '3900 takes those same features, adds more flexibility, and gives you that really high-quality video processing.

Julie: Exactly. The 'Z7 takes all of that, and then throws some more high-end features into the mix. Gives you a really solid build, gives you those handy video adjustment presets, and it also gives you the ability to see HD picture and hear digital surround sound in another room as part of a multi-room system.

Amanda: Definitely. Now, if you have any questions about this, you can give us a call at 1-800-555-9408.

Julie: And to find out more about any of these three receivers, you can visit us at

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