Yamaha YHT-S400,,, I got one, but have questions, need opinions ?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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To make everyone here happy I picked up a Yamaha YHT-S400 to test and try out.

Was playing with it all last night, tweeking it and tring different settings from my BluRay player (PCM vs Bitstream) with everything hooked up via HDMI.

I had high hopes for the S400, but so far I gota say Im not really impressed as far as a surround effect, my Vizio's, Sony CT's and JVC BA1 have/had a much better surround sound effect than the S400 does with my testing and tweeking so far.

The sound from the S400 is good as far as tone and dialog, but almost no hint of any surround effect compared to all my other bars, (all tried out in the same room).

Im not ready to give up yet as the S400 gets some really good reviews,,, perhaps I am missing something in my settings on my BD player,,,,PCM vs Bitstream vs Downmixed vs Not Downmixed vs all the other setting's on my BD player,,,choosing all the correct audio settings on a BD player can be a pain in the ass sometimes as some systems react so differently to varied settings and combination of audio settings,,, so perhaps I just have not found the right combination of audio settings on my BD player yet that will make the S400 come to life ????

Any one with opinions or suggestions feel free to chime in ????

Cheers
Davyo
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 02:20 PM
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You should probably see someone for the Soundbar addiction
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post #3 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogambokhushhua View Post

You should probably see someone for the Soundbar addiction

Very very very good advice

Cheers
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post #4 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 02:59 PM
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Yes Davyo. This soundbar addiction
is an illness.
Ooops,.. off to my shrink.. :-)
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post #5 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 03:36 PM
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@Davyo, I think you should start a Audio Review Blog atleast that way MAY be all the Manufacturers will send you review kits

The Yahama seems kind of a let down, from your review.. but as you said lets see if members who own this thing can come up with some tips.
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post #6 of 28 Old 08-19-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frostylou View Post

Yes Davyo. This soundbar addiction
is an illness.
Ooops,.. off to my shrink.. :-)

Yes Frosty,,,, you do have a problem as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogambokhushhua View Post

@Davyo, I think you should start a Audio Review Blog atleast that way MAY be all the Manufacturers will send you review kits

The Yahama seems kind of a let down, from your review.. but as you said lets see if members who own this thing can come up with some tips.

Yea,,,, I am hoping some S400 owners chime in,,, with all the settings I have tried so far I dont seem to be getting the same results as others have claimed as far as a surround effect goes.

I even went so far as to read the S400 manual,,,, and I hate reading manuals.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #7 of 28 Old 08-20-2010, 11:29 PM
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Sweet! There are not many pics out there of the S400, can you take a shot of the bar and the sub next to your TV. Thanks, Davyo YTMD!
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-21-2010, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeaurod View Post

Sweet! There are not many pics out there of the S400, can you take a shot of the bar and the sub next to your TV. Thanks, Davyo YTMD!

I would love to post some pics but no can do now,,,, I packed up the S400 and returned it last night.

Im really kinda perplexed over the S400's performance in my living room, it's the same exact room that I have had all my other soundbars in and tested, and the S400 was the least of my favorites as far a surround effect goes,,,, and thats one of my sticking points with any soundbar,,, for me to like it, it has to have some sort of a decent surround effect.

The surround effect from the S400 was minimal at best,,,, and I tried every setting on the bar and on my BD player I could think of and was not impressed at all,,,,,, I just cant figure that one,,, the S400 gets some really good reviews so I had high hopes for it,,,,, it was for sure a let down for me.

So my most favorites are still,,, in order.
1: JVC BA3 (not really a soundbar since it has the rear speakers)
2: JVC BA1 (my top pick over any other soundbar)
3: The Vizio soundbars (the new VHT210 is the best of the Vizio's)
4: Sony CT-150
5: Sony CT-500 (when ya find one that works properly)
6: Yamaha YSP's (perhaps the best at a surround effect but a pain in the ass to navagate and set-up "correctly")

Since I mentioned the JVC's I really have to add this to this post,, for anyone that has not checked out the JVC BA1 or BA3 you are really missing out.
These JVC's really are the killer soundbars, the surround effect from the JVC's is really quite amazing,,, and its not even a surround "effect", it's true surround as each speaker/channel is getting a dedicated signal,,,the BA1 is a true 4.1 sound system and the BA3 is a true 5.1 system (in a kinda soundbar form).

In closing I will just end with one word,,,,, JVC.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #9 of 28 Old 08-21-2010, 09:44 PM
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I'm posting cause I want to show a little love for the Yamaha sound bar. I've had the S400 for a number of months now and I'm happy with it.

I had actually purchased the Boston Acoustics tvee 2 sound bar. I had listened to it at Best Buy against the Sony CT100, which I felt lacked volume and also did not have a wireless sub, something I wanted. BB also had the Polk sound bar/wireless sub combo, and while I felt that it and the BA were both powerful and immersive I felt that the BA had a fuller sound with more depth and bought it. That it was stereo sound had no impact on me, guess the virtual surround sound concept was feeling a little like voodoo magic to me. That I had soon after experienced the CT-500 at the Sony store did nothing to change my point of view.

Anyway, got the BA home, set it up and liked it. With all the demo audio blasts and booms at Best Buy one of the things I did not notice until I got it home was that the dialog was a little difficult to hear through action sequences and musical scores. It probably didn't help that my first test disk was Terminator Salvation with Christian Bale mumbling his way through. The other thing that I wasn't thrilled with was when using my cable remote to control sound on the unit, the TV sound would also be adjusting at the same time, which makes sense since the unit learns your remotes commands. When I turned off the TV sound in the TV menu system each time I used the remote for sound with the BA the TV would pick up the signal and display an icon telling me that the sound was off. Anyway, not ideal and I ended returning the unit.

I had seen the (original) Vizio at Costco and just wasn't feeling it, visually the sound bar just felt huge and overpowering to me and I was concerned that placed in front of my TV it would block the remote from controlling the TV. And while sound was an important factor, for me the choice was certainly not all about the audio. If it was I would have probably gone in a different direction from a sound bar altogether.

Without first seeing and strictly from reviews I ended up with the S400. The reviews from those who had demoed the unit were pretty upbeat about the audio and I was happy with that. I also really liked the funky receiver/subwoofer form factor and the super slim sound bar and how it would work in my setup. Like others I was concerned about vibration but thus far it's been a non-issue. I wanted a discrete setup and this was it, a sound bar with feet that sits low yet above the TV stand and therefore can be placed snug against my 40 TV and visually meld into the TV to a greater degree than any other sound system I'd seen. The vibration issue aside I also liked that there was no sub hanging off the end or apart from my setup and instead would sit as part of my setup on a shelf discretely. Clean is what I wanted and what I got.

In term of audio, I'm happy with both volume and dynamic sound quality. It's clear, sharp and has power. Like the BA it's not really surround, though if you play it loud enough I guess sound is going to fill the room. Other things I like. Setting for the center channel, really nice feature for bringing out dialog. Setting for HDMI pass through, this way with Yamaha off, some of the technology challenged in the house can watch TV with TV audio just like normal, and with the Yamaha on TV sound is disabled and the Yamaha takes over. And while I picked up a remote with the Yamaha, I also lost the TV remote because the Yamaha remote takes over the job of HDMI switching and that's all I was using the TV remote for. Has FM reception, which I find myself using on occasion, it's a nice add on. I'm also thinking that changing from surround modes to extended stereo mode may get more of the surround sound some may desire.

The unit has a variety of surround modes: movie, music, sports and game. For me, they all sound the same so I'm wondering if someone with the unit can tell me if their experience is similar.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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post #10 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 03:34 AM
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hi dave!! i just ran to this post saying you had the S400....i was Shocked on your review...damn i was about to get one; like you all i have read was good in Europe.....

I am stunned that for you not only was the bar a deception, but it was also the worst bar you had in your life...it's not even in your top 5!!!

my question DAVE: i was torn between the CT150 and S400.....main priorities are:

1. Best dialogue clarity
2. Best bluray audio quality (PCM)
3. Best surround (hell you say the sony is MUCH better, so won't ask which is better!)
4. Subwoofer quality


So aside from 3....which one wins???

Confused now.....the sony is 50% less than the yamaha, should i go with that???

ps: don't tell me to go JCV....i need HDMI
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post #11 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

hi dave!! i just ran to this post saying you had the S400....i was Shocked on your review...damn i was about to get one; like you all i have read was good in Europe.....

I am stunned that for you not only was the bar a deception, but it was also the worst bar you had in your life...it's not even in your top 5!!!

my question DAVE: i was torn between the CT150 and S400.....main priorities are:

1. Best dialogue clarity
2. Best bluray audio quality (PCM)
3. Best surround (hell you say the sony is MUCH better, so won't ask which is better!)
4. Subwoofer quality


So aside from 3....which one wins???

Confused now.....the sony is 50% less than the yamaha, should i go with that???

ps: don't tell me to go JCV....i need HDMI

Hey Nenito

Yea,,, frankly I was shocked as well by the performance of the S400, and not in a good way.

The majority of the review's I have read as well were very positive so I was really expecting so much more from the S400.

And I really wanted to like the S400 as well, I love the looks and the form factor of it,,, very cool how the sub sits in a component cabinet,,, the HDMI inputs, very user friendly and love the remote.

By no means did the S400 suck, it does sound very good, but the surround effect was almost non-existant,,,,, if a surround effect is not important then the S400 might be a good choice for the form factor alone and the other plus's I found with it.

But the S400 did not sound any better than many of the other bars I have had in my house, so I see no reaon to pick it over some other bars that DO HAVE a surround effect and sound just as good if not better than the S400.

You asked about the S400 vs the CT-150,,,, this is the easy'est question I have ever had to answer here on AVS,,,, get the CT-150 !!!!!

The CT-150 sounds just as good as the S400 does and with the CT-150 your guna get some fairly good to really good surround sound.

I know "Bubba" posted he is happy with his S400 and thats great, but he also posted that he was not impressed with the CT-150 or the Vizio "in the store" and that's the biggest mistake anyone can ever make, what a system sounds like in the store is NOTHING like what that same system will sound like when you get it home.

If your reading this Bubba,,, you really should not judge in any way shape or form any system you hear "in the store",,,, in the store ALWAYS sounds like total crap,,,,, Ohhhh,, and welcome to the forum Bubba ,,,I agreed with much of what you posted,,, good review.

But yea,,,, Nenito,,,,,, my suggestion,,,,, JVC,,, with an HDMI switcher from MonoPrice (around 30 or 40 buck's),,,, the JVC BA1 or the BA3,,,,they truly are amazing soundbars,,,,,,, OK,,,, I had to give you the JVC speach.

But if you really cant do the JVC with an HDMI switcher (big mistake to not get the JVC ) then get the CT-150 and while your sitting in your living room listening to the CT-150 try not to think about what a life changing experience getting the JVC might have been had you purchased it (Im such a smartass sometimes),,,,,, all kidding aside though,, the JVC really is that good.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #12 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 08:43 AM
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Hey Davyo, thanks for the welcome. Yes, I am reading this stuff and have seen enough to recognize and appreciate that the excellent sound bar related experience on this forum exists in no small part due to your contribution.

I understand what you are saying about the store demo experience.

Also Davyo, if you or anyone with the unit, can let me know if you are (or recall) hearing any variances between the movie, music, sports and game surround mode effects. I don't notice any differences and am wondering what others are experiencing.
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post #13 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba lynch View Post

Hey Davyo, thanks for the welcome. Yes, I am reading this stuff and have seen enough to recognize and appreciate that the excellent sound bar related experience on this forum exists in no small part due to your contribution.

I understand what you are saying about the store demo experience.

Also Davyo, if you or anyone with the unit, can let me know if you are (or recall) hearing any variances between the movie, music, sports and game surround mode effects. I don't notice any differences and am wondering what others are experiencing.

Hey Bubba,, thanks for the kind words,,,, I do try to contribute and help others and get help as well,,, this forum is a great place for all of that.

I did do switching between the surround mode effects and did hear noticable differences between the different modes, for me the Movie mode worked the best when I was testing the S400 with my BluRays,,, I never got around to testing out any audio from my HD cable box.

Very odd that you are not hearing differences in the modes.

Perhaps I got a defective unit that didnt put out a surround effect and you got a defective unit that does not do the surround modes properly,,, that would be funny.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #14 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post


In closing I will just end with one word,,,,, JVC.

Cheers
Davyo

Isn't this JVC model no longer being manufactured?
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post #15 of 28 Old 08-22-2010, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unmesh View Post

Isn't this JVC model no longer being manufactured?

There are still BA1's in stock at various sellers, but the new-er updated BA1 wont be out untill Q1 of 2011 (at least thats the date JVC told me when I called).

The BA3 is still being made (its a new'er model than the BA1).

Cheers
Davyo
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post #16 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 04:12 AM
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thanx DAVEYO, once again.....unfortunatly where i live no JVC can be had...i would have to ask someone to get it from france or something, a real hassle...
so my guess is to go with the CT-150....as it will be available here in end of september.....
will keep reading this forum until then............
damn i really wanted the S400....
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post #17 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

thanx DAVEYO, once again.....unfortunatly where i live no JVC can be had...i would have to ask someone to get it from france or something, a real hassle...
so my guess is to go with the CT-150....as it will be available here in end of september.....
will keep reading this forum until then............
damn i really wanted the S400....

For what its worth I like the CT-150 very much and dont worry,,, you will not be un-happy at all with a CT-150,,,,,, I think its one of the best soundbars out there right now,,,, just because I like the JVC's more does not mean I dont like the CT's,,,, I very much like the Sony CT's and for HDMI switching they are the very BEST choice.

Matter of fact,,,, I might end up getting another CT-150,,, when I tried out the S400 I had exchanged it for my JVC BA1 because I really needed something with HDMI switching and was hoping the S400 would be a better choice than the JVC or the Sony's.

Since the S400 turned out not to be a keeper,,, I have 3 choices,,,, get another JVC BA1 or a JVC BA3 or a Sony CT-150,,,, my new set-up Im putting together is a ceiling mounted video projector with my 55" LED Vizio panel (setting up a new theater room, electric projector screen will lower down in front of the LCD panel),,,, Im really wanting to just use an HDMI switcher and get the JVC BA3 but because of some install issues I might be forced to get another Sony CT-150 instead of my favorite (the JVC).

With the Sonys HDMI inputs my install will be much simpler with the CT-150,, Im still tring to figure a way to use a HDMI switcher and the JVC,,, not sure what Im going to do at this exact moment.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #18 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 06:04 AM
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lol Dave...you and soundbars.....you will become sick one day!

Going to get another CT-150.......i never thought of that.....in any case man life is short, just get a soundbar and settle down for some time until a sony CT true 5.1 wireless soundbar comes out next year with HD decoding
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post #19 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 07:10 AM
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Davyo,

Since you are the resident tester and people here look for your reviews, ever consider trying out the Samsung HW 450? I know there is no HDMI, but it did get some pretty good reviews too.

I would love to hear your comparison of the Samsung to the JVC.
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post #20 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

lol Dave...you and soundbars.....you will become sick one day!

Going to get another CT-150.......i never thought of that.....in any case man life is short, just get a soundbar and settle down for some time until a sony CT true 5.1 wireless soundbar comes out next year with HD decoding

Yes,, there is slight chance I might have to get another CT-150 instead of a JVC,,, with placement of my projector and my LED panel and all my source's the install would be easier with the HDMI switching the CT-150 offers,,,, but Im still tring to figure out an install that would work with the JVC and an HDMI switcher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Big 'O' View Post

Davyo,

Since you are the resident tester and people here look for your reviews, ever consider trying out the Samsung HW 450? I know there is no HDMI, but it did get some pretty good reviews too.

I would love to hear your comparison of the Samsung to the JVC.

To be honest I have not really read up to much on the Samsung,,,,, geeze,,,, now Im guna have to go read up on it,,, Im not saying Im guna buy it and test it,,,,, just some light reading .

Cheers
Davyo
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post #21 of 28 Old 08-23-2010, 08:10 AM
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Looks similar. A few more watts, same connections, wireless sub.
It has an autovolume feature, and a few different modes too. I heard it in a best buy and it sounded pretty decent in the large warehouse/store.

It also has a lot of decent reviews and a good look to it.
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post #22 of 28 Old 08-25-2010, 07:34 AM
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I am trying to decide between this Yamaha (YHT-S400) and Samsung HW-C450. Has anyone compared the sound differences between these 2?

Thanks in advance....
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post #23 of 28 Old 08-25-2010, 09:11 AM
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@Davyo, you can use this Video only processor
http://www.amazon.com/DVDO-EDGE-High...2752539&sr=1-1

but its a bit expensive for what it does..
Dont own it, but from the product description you can do HDMI switching and as also get optical out from various sources switched to one single Optical output.
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post #24 of 28 Old 09-20-2010, 10:00 AM
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I am considering getting the YHT-S400 due to some unique space limitations that I have.
My question is will my Directv remote be able to turn on the S400 and run volume. I know Directv has Yamaha listed w codes but I want to be sure it will work before I might buy.
Anyone knowing answer will be appreciated.
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post #25 of 28 Old 09-20-2010, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake34 View Post

I am considering getting the YHT-S400 due to some unique space limitations that I have.
My question is will my Directv remote be able to turn on the S400 and run volume. I know Directv has Yamaha listed w codes but I want to be sure it will work before I might buy.
Anyone knowing answer will be appreciated.

Do not know a definite answer. I did own a Yamaha sound projector and it would not work with any codes with the universal remotes that came with my cable box or TV. My son now has the Yamaha and it does not work with his DirectTV remote. Both Yamaha and Direct said there were no available codes for this. Both I and my son ended up with Logitech Harmony remotes to bypass the problem and it did make our lives (and even more important those of our wives) much easier.

David Freeman
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post #26 of 28 Old 09-20-2010, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for the response. One question more.
Did you mean your son now has the Yamaha YHT-S400 and Directv remote will not run it??
I was thinking too that I can go the Logitech universal remote route if I have to but the Directv remote is better obviously.
I did call Directv and they could not really guarantee anything but said if none of codes work you can also scan for codes and they can help with how to do it. I sure hate to spend money without knowing these answers for sure.
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post #27 of 28 Old 09-21-2010, 11:05 AM
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no his son has an older model (an YSP 900 i think it was that one)
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post #28 of 28 Old 09-21-2010, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nenito2k View Post

no his son has an older model (an YSP 900 i think it was that one)

Correct you are. I had gone through this exercise in 2006 with Yamaha and Comcast for my cable remote. My son repeated the exercise in 2009 with Yamaha and Direct with equally frustrating results. As always, dads come through with purchasing a new Harmony remote for me and handing down the old one. Everyone happy.

David Freeman
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