By Todd Anderson on Apr 11, 2018 at 9:06 AM
  1. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    HDMI 2.1 Officially Arrives with Yamaha’s RX-V385 AV Receiver

    [​IMG]
    (Yamaha)

    (April 11, 2018) Yamaha’s new RX-V385 takes the notion of “budget” to dizzying heights, boasting a mega wallet-friendly price of $280. That alone should make it incredibly tempting for entry level buyers. But the receiver also carries some interesting technologies that sweeten the pot, including the presence of HDMI 2.1 functionality.

    At its core, the RX-V385 is billed as a 5.1-channel receiver that offers owners the ability to bi-amp a system’s front speakers for 2.1 and 3.1 configurations. Its discrete amp section is capable of delivering 70 watts per channel (2ch driven, 8 ohms), and sound output is tuned and optimized by Yamaha’s proprietary YPAO calibration suite, which utilizes an included microphone to analyze a room’s acoustics for better sonic performance. Sound quality is further catered by three Burr-Brown 384 kHz / 32-bit DACs and onboard decoding of MP3, WMA, MPEG-4 AAC, and WAV files up to 48 kHz / 16-bit.

    Movie fans will appreciate the receiver’s ability to decode both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA codecs.

    On the connectivity front, the RX-V385 offers banana connector friendly binding posts, which aren’t commonly found on entry level products. Users will also find a host of analog and digital inputs including one optical, two coaxial, and three RCA, in addition to a singular subwoofer preout. And while Wi-Fi streaming is absent, the receiver does carry Bluetooth paired with Yamaha’s Compressed Audio Enhancer (for better sound from low quality streamed music).

    What’s most shocking – and probably the most exciting part about this receiver’s launch – is the presence of four HDMI 2.1 inputs. The inclusion of this next-gen HDMI spec was notably absent from Yamaha’s product press materials, but definitively noted on the RX-V385’s public product spec page. Nevertheless, the RX-V385 is the industry’s first AVR to carry HDMI 2.1. For now, the receiver is only specified to offer video features typically found on current HDMI 2.0 products, which means compatibility with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG High Dynamic Range, HDCP 2.2, 4K/60p, BT.2020 color, and other current 4K video tech. Also, eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) will be activated via a firmware release at a later date. But, its presence marks the beginning of a new age of AV equipment and signals the beginning of (what is destined to be) a mad rush to HDMI 2.1 conversion.

    The RX-V385 is scheduled to begin shipping later this month.
     
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Comments

Discussion in 'AV Industry News' started by Todd Anderson, Apr 11, 2018.

    1. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      Thanks for the news update. Nice of them to have HDMI 2.1 inputs and four of them in fact. :)
       
    2. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      For those of you interested, I asked Yamaha to confirm the max bit rate of the HDMI ports... and they aren't willing to publicly release specs. So. Take from that what you will.
       
    3. tripplej

      tripplej AV Enthusiast

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      Thanks Todd for asking. Should be interesting to see what they say. :)
       
    4. bkeeler10

      bkeeler10 Senior Member

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      This is an odd product to be the first to carry HDMI 2.1. But I guess it probably means every new Yamaha going forward will have it too. Good point about whether they will be capable of 48 Gbps throughput. Probably not I'd guess.
       
    5. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      It is a bit odd. I'm actually surprised the 2.1 chips are already on the market. I was led to believe it was going to take longer.

      I'm curious to see the marketing spin as this model year is unveiled.
       
    6. Jeff S

      Jeff S Member

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      I admit I am a little behind the times. As a reminder, what is the big change and benefit of HDMI 2.1? (Please excuse my lack of knowledge on this one).
       
    7. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      The current standard is HDMI 2.0. That standard is "specified" to deliver, among other things, 18Gbps (giga-bits per second) data transfer. Current technology is maxing out that bandwidth, so HDMI 2.1 has been crafted to meet future AV needs, including offering up 48 Gbps of data transfer.

      The upside is that HDMI 2.1 will allow for such things as 120Hz refresh rate, up to 10K resolution, dynamic HDR, and some nifty tech that plays to virtual reality.

      The downside is that new HDMI cables will be needed.

      The good news is that most of HDMI 2.1 is designed to handle is years away from launch, so HDMI 2.0 equipment should be relevant for quite some time. Also, some of the features touted by HDMI 2.1 (I believe eARC is one) could potentially be implemented on HDMI 2.0 gear with a firmware update.
       
    8. Jeff S

      Jeff S Member

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      Thanks for the info. I can see where that will be helpful in the near future.So much technology down the pipe. Just when you think things can't get any better....
      Now if the other industry can fix the HDCP errors that are plaguing my Roku Premier + I will be even happier. I realize that is a completely different issue and body governing, but frustrating just the same. New TV, new Roku, high quality HDMI cable, no dice.
       
    9. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Is all of your firmware up to date on your devices?
       
    10. Jeff S

      Jeff S Member

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      Yes. I double checked the firmware for both the TV and the Roku as well as my Pioneer receiver (even though I removed the receiver from the connection to troubleshoot). I have looked up the issue on many forums and this seems to be an issue with Apple TV as well. Just frustrating as all of my equipment is compliant. At any rate, I digress as I know that wasn't the focus of this. Thanks again for the great information.
       
    11. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Jeff, start a Roku thread and see if you can get some help!
       
    12. Jeff S

      Jeff S Member

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      Thanks Todd. I just created a thread. Maybe it can start a conversation and path to finding a real solution.
       
    13. Manni

      Manni New Member

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      Just to let you know that there is no doubt that the hardware on this model is HDMI 2.0x, with a 18gb/s bandwidth limitation. It probably has a hybrid chipset that makes it possible to support eArc, as these are already available.

      However 48Gb/s hardware for full HDMI 2.1 compliance isn't available yet. I have a flaship Denon X8500H, it has an upgrade path (HDMI board swap) to HDMI 2.1 with full 48Gb/w bandwidth and it's not expected until 2019. It does also have an eArc upgrade coming via f/w upgrade sometime this year, as the hardware is already able to support that. But it's still limited to HDMI 2.0b 18Gb/s.

      The sad thing is that in order to claim HDMI 2.1 compatibility, you only have to support ONE single HDMI 2.1 feature. As many of these are not bandwidth related, such as the eArc feature, you can claim HDMI 2.1 compliance with an old HDMI 2.0x chipset. This is what Sony had done a few years ago with their projectors, they claimed HDMI 2.0 compliance because they added a single feature (4K60p suport at 8bits 4:2:0) but they were using (until very recently) old HDMI 1.4a chipsets with a 10Gb/s bandwidth.

      So beware, unscrupulous manufacturers are quick to claim things that are only software implementation. This is definitely the case here.
       
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    14. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Hey Manni,

      You're correct. At the time of publish I had reached out to Yamaha and several days later they declined to release hardware data. As of CES, full 2.1 chipsets seemed to be 8-10 months away, and thus this claim certainly caught me off guard. That said, this is the first product of any kind that has been marketed with the 2.1 moniker attached (at least that I'm aware of...)
       
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    15. Blade77

      Blade77 Member

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      so, why 2018 models say that they have HDMI 2.1 ? or do they only mean some features of HDMI 2.1 like earc ??
       
    16. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      You're exactly right... some 2.1 features can be used on 2.0... like eARC. I believe that, at the time of the original PR release, Yamaha hadn't quite thought through the proper wording. This receiver doesn't carry 2.1 chipsets
       
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    17. Manni

      Manni New Member

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      Hey Todd,

      Likely, there will be a few displays claiming HDMI 2.1 support at CES 2019 next week, it's very unlikely any of them will support 48Gb/s, so true HDMI 2.1.

      The HDMI 2.1 h/w upgrade for the X8500H isn't expected until July 2019, and AFAIK there is no consumer product offering a 48Gb/s bandwidth at this stage, or expected in the coming months. The hardware isn't even available to manufacturers in significant quantities.

      It looks like we'll have to wait until at least the end of 2019 to be able to upgrade a whole chain (as of course it's the whole chain including Display, VP, switches, AVR etc that has to support HDMI 2.1, otherwise it falls down to the lowest common denominator. most likely HDMI 2.0b).

      One last thing to keep in mind is cables. AFAIK there are no cables able to support 48Gb/s over more than a few feet (if that). So depending on the run needed, make sure you find the cables supporting the increased bandwidth over the needed distance in your setup before upgrading the whole chain, or it will be a complete waste of money.

      I'm not expecting a full HDMI 2.1 chain in my home cinema until 2020 at best.

      Happy new year!
       
    18. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Yes, you’re right... at this point, I’m not even sure 2.1 functionality is going to matter for even longer. We’re still working out the kinks on tech and content for current standards!

      When the 2.1 spec was first announced, I thought it would be an immediate headache... turns out not to the be case. And it’s nice that so many upper tier products are offering module upgrades.

      I’m very curious to see what happens next week.

      I need to dig back through my emails ;-), but I think there is a company claiming they’ll have long run fiber this year.
       
    19. Blade77

      Blade77 Member

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      Dear Τodd,

      im thinkink of buying a new 5.1.4 HT system from scratch.. a Denon 4500 AV with Klipsch 260 Reference Premier HT system + 4 Klipsch Dolby Atmos modules.. do you believe this is a good move or should i wait for HDMI 2.1 to be properly instaled ? The only thing i would like to connect is a PS4 or PS5 or whatever.. i mean there wont be any future letdown so i will be able to send dolby atmos to my receiver and video to the tv.. im asking this because i see all these videos with video passthrough and eARC and its a bit confusing..
      Βy the way, LG has already confirmed HDMI 2.1 in 2019 lineup, so im in a dillema if i should buy a AV receiver now
       
      #20 Blade77, Jan 4, 2019
      Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    20. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      @Blade77

      It's nearly impossible to foresee the future... but the transition from HDMI 2.0 to 2.1 is a far cry from what we experienced with 1.4 to 2.0. Back in those days, there's was a good year that I suggested potential buyers sit and wait. This is much different. More than likely, an 2.0 gear is going to be relevant for years to come. I just don't see a scenario where 2.0 gear becomes instantaneously obsolete. Of course, once 2.1 source and displays become available (and there is actual content), then you'll need a 2.1 compatible AVR. I'd imagine most people will stick with their current 4K TVs and 4K UHD Blu-ray players for quite a while.

      eARC is simple... it's like ARC (which allows your TV to send audio back to the receiver, thus allowing the receiver to play it over your stereo or multichannel speakers... so if you're watching app based material, like Netflix, you aren't stuck with your TV's speaker. Hence the name Audio Return Channel). eARC ups the ante, so to speak, by allowing your TV to send uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 audio to your receiver, along with high-bit rate (192/24 audio) or Atmos/DTS:X Immersive Sound to your receiver (among a few other things).

      2.1 basically opens up the bandwidth for a variety of features. And as @Manni has eluded... you'll need a new HDMI cable to use it. You'll also need HDMI 2.1 sources, displays, etc. You're basically looking at a complete system gut and rebuild. Which sounds crazy to me (at the moment) because it seems like manufacturers are still trying to harness and apply the video standards allowed under 2.0!

      Some folks may choose to just sit and wait (or buy gear that allows 2.1 upgrades)... me, personally, I'd pay attention to what happens at CES this coming week. And then make my best educated guess... which I think is "buy now and enjoy."
       
    21. Blade77

      Blade77 Member

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      yes i will wait until CES to see what manufacturers have to offer. the price tag for a new tv, av receiver and speakers is extremely big here in Europe so im leaning towards buy a receiver now and wait till the end of the year to buy a new tv
       

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