Pioneer/Sony Wife Dilemma - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Dear AVS Forum members-
I am a longtime lurker but your forum is so helpful that I just joined today.
I'm hoping that you can help me shed some light on my quandary.
I just bought a Pioneer VSX 1021-K for $299 at Newegg, a great deal.
I am running a Sony 52" Bravia LED. We have been running all inputs into the TV Happily for a year and wife knows how to work that.

I am installing all of this new gear but don't really want to get in trouble with the wife, i.e. I want her to love it when she tries it out. The Pioneer is amazing for me because of the airplay, I find that great. BUT when I turn off the Pioneer nothing goes to the TV anymore (i.e. wife cannot use the Sony the way she used to...)

HDMI passthrough would save me here but it does not work on the Pioneer. I have read a ton of threads and it's all the same, how can they not have this feature, I am stunned, why can't they simply pass signals on at standby.

Now I fear that I may have to give up the great airplay and iOS apps on the Pioneer and get the Sony STR-DN1020. The Bravia Sync will apparently just work with the Sony TV, so wife can use it just like she did before, but then we can press "theatre" and have the big sound come on. I am hoping that with an Apple TV that I won't miss the Airplay features on the Pioneer, but I am kidding myself because the truth is that streaming directly to the receiver is better than having to use the Sony remote to turn on the Apple TV, and only then be able to control it with the iPhone.

I hate sending things back to the store and I really hope I'm not making a mistake. I even bought a harmony remote on amazon yesterday in the hopes that having a harmony combining the pioneer receiver with the sony tv would get me in the good books. That said, I think using the same sony remote might be better than learning a new Harmony. Is anyone using a Harmony with a Sony TV and Pioneer receiver? How is it working for you?

Apologies for the long post but anyone using a Sony tv with Pioneer HU, (or, Sony people using both Sony TV and Sony HU with Bravia Sync); I'd love to hear from you. Is the convenience of the Bravia sync worth giving up the Pioneer built-in airplay and iOS control? If it was just me, I'd definitely keep the Pioneer. But I have to keep the wife factor involved, I am sure that other guys are in the same boat, and things are easier when my better half is happy, then I'm happy. Thanks again.
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techneanderthal View Post

Dear AVS Forum members-
I am a longtime lurker but your forum is so helpful that I just joined today.
I'm hoping that you can help me shed some light on my quandary.
I just bought a Pioneer VSX 1021-K for $299 at Newegg, a great deal.
I am running a Sony 52" Bravia LED. We have been running all inputs into the TV Happily for a year and wife knows how to work that.

I am installing all of this new gear but don't really want to get in trouble with the wife, i.e. I want her to love it when she tries it out. The Pioneer is amazing for me because of the airplay, I find that great. BUT when I turn off the Pioneer nothing goes to the TV anymore (i.e. wife cannot use the Sony the way she used to...)

HDMI passthrough would save me here but it does not work on the Pioneer. I have read a ton of threads and it's all the same, how can they not have this feature, I am stunned, why can't they simply pass signals on at standby.

Now I fear that I may have to give up the great airplay and iOS apps on the Pioneer and get the Sony STR-DN1020. The Bravia Sync will apparently just work with the Sony TV, so wife can use it just like she did before, but then we can press "theatre" and have the big sound come on. I am hoping that with an Apple TV that I won't miss the Airplay features on the Pioneer, but I am kidding myself because the truth is that streaming directly to the receiver is better than having to use the Sony remote to turn on the Apple TV, and only then be able to control it with the iPhone.

I hate sending things back to the store and I really hope I'm not making a mistake. I even bought a harmony remote on amazon yesterday in the hopes that having a harmony combining the pioneer receiver with the sony tv would get me in the good books. That said, I think using the same sony remote might be better than learning a new Harmony. Is anyone using a Harmony with a Sony TV and Pioneer receiver? How is it working for you?

Apologies for the long post but anyone using a Sony tv with Pioneer HU, (or, Sony people using both Sony TV and Sony HU with Bravia Sync); I'd love to hear from you. Is the convenience of the Bravia sync worth giving up the Pioneer built-in airplay and iOS control? If it was just me, I'd definitely keep the Pioneer. But I have to keep the wife factor involved, I am sure that other guys are in the same boat, and things are easier when my better half is happy, then I'm happy. Thanks again.

I think your solution is just to get a Harmony remote.

It will control both the receiver and the TV, and you can use it to turn on both.

That way, your wife presses one button labeled "Watch TV" and she is good to go.

Plus, she will have one remote to control both.
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Bladerunner for your quick post.
I very much appreciate your feedback to my first post on this forum.
I am wondering out loud whether the Harmony One would be a better option than Bravia Sync.
I have read that these sync systems (Kuro Sync with Pioneer, Bravia with Sony, etc) don't always work the way I think they will.
I wonder whether the Harmony One will let us control the Roku Box, Dish Network VIP612, Sirius receiver, old-school DVD/VCR Combo too. I have my doubts but since I ordered the Harmony yesterday, I will definitely give it a try and report back.
Is it normal for the Pioneer 1021K to not have HDMI passthrough? I read the Sony manual and it absolutely has this feature.
Thanks again Bladerunner. I'd still love to hear from any Sony Bravia Sync users (TV and HU), or else a Sony TV/Pioneer HU member with a Harmony One. Cheers.
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 08:27 AM
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^^^

yes, the harmony will control your devices...

yes, it is a FAR superior solution to using any hdmi cec scheme...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 


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post #5 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 08:32 AM
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Another beauty part about the Harmony One is no matter what equipment you get it can be programmed for it so far my wife would never give up hers.
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Feeling much better about not immediately sending the Pioneer back and replacing with a Sony. Thanks for the replies about the Harmony One.
Can you help me understand HDMI passthrough better, I would like to stop whining about this lack of feature in the Pioneer VSX-1021-K if possible.
If I understand, even with the Harmony, there will be no way for me to use the in-TV speakers anymore, b/c the Pioneer will not pass any audio or video through when in standby.
Do all of you use your H/U all the time? I can see my wife not wanting to use the big system with sub when kids are sleeping etc. I also want to just have 1 cable HDMI from H/U to TV. In those cases Pioneer should send audio/video to TV when in standby. Is this b/c the 1021K is entry-level that it does not passthrough? I see from the forum though, that even the step up 1121 also has flakey HDMI passthrough. Some say that this feature (HDMI Passthrough) is ridiculous (stupid to use TV 3W speakers) but I can see times when I would prefer the lower volume. Is there any solution to getting audio/video to pass through this Pioneer using Harmony? Thanks again. Your time is much appreciated.
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 08:47 AM
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"lower volume" is accomplished by turning the volume knob to the left... there's no need to use the tv speakers simply because you want "lower volume"...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 


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post #8 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 09:12 AM
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I also have a Harmony and can tell you it's a great solution, regardless of your TV Model, AVR model etc. They do them all.

There other alternatives however. There are plenty of times I want to watch the news or some other TV show where sound quality is less important. I have my Comcast box sending Component Video directly to my Sony TV, (Component Video Green/Blue/Red outputs) and then the Audio with two Analog out outputs, giving me Video/Stereo Audio directly to the TV.

Then I have HDMI going directly to my Onkyo 809, and of course one of the HDMI outputs on the "Onk" feeds the TV too.

So then I have two buttons to press on the Harmony:
  • TV Direct from Cable Box
  • TV with 5.1 from Onkyo

Works fine, lasts a long time.

YMMV

Steve L
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi ccotenj, I hear you loud and clear! I know how stupid my comments sound...it's certainly easy to turn down the volume on the HU if its too loud, and not worry about using the TV speakers. I guess I think Pioneer sucks to not have included the HDMI passthrough option, b/c I would rather have the option to use TV speakers if I wanted. I think the SUB is the major deal, b/c even with volume low, the sub will still be in effect and I'm not sure if I can turn off just the sub with the Harmony remote or with the iPad app.

SteveL1949 I am very happy to hear from you about the Harmony One. It seems now that there are quite a few people happy with it. I tried reading the forum here on this site about the Harmony One but it's about 500 pages long and I couldn't dedicate that much time yet. Some things I did see are that lots of people are having trouble with the screen failing/breaking, and Logitech seems to be crap about support. I wonder if you have had this issue. Still it seems to be very good tech and I am excited to test it out on Tuesday when I receive my order from Monoprice along with the Harmony One.

If anyone's still reading, I will be using banana plugs along with banana wall panels to do the cleanest install I can. I'm using speaker wall mounts from Monoprice and the speakers are Energy Take 5 Classics, along with their Veritas VSW10 Subwoofer and a pair of Energy CB5s, to make a nice Energy 7.1 system. I am excited to see how it will sound with the Pioneer HU. If it's easy to use with the Harmony One I think it'll be a winner. Thanks so much for your comments and especially if anyone decided to go with an all Sony setup for simplicity (over a universal remote) I'd love to get your view. Perhaps no one has gone this route, very possible.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 10:42 AM
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Harmony is the way to go. You can set the Pio's initial volume to a fixed value -- have it always at -30 when it powers up, say -- so nobody is ever accidentally shocked by volume turning on the system.

PS: in home audio, it's "AVR" -- Audio/VIdeo Receiver -- not "Head Unit."

The ability to choose each component for its performance, features, and price is so compelling, as is the ability to customize commands and functionality and to add new components in the future, that one-brand systems aren't even in the running, IMO.

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post #11 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techneanderthal View Post

Hi ccotenj, I hear you loud and clear! I know how stupid my comments sound...it's certainly easy to turn down the volume on the HU if its too loud, and not worry about using the TV speakers. I guess I think Pioneer sucks to not have included the HDMI passthrough option, b/c I would rather have the option to use TV speakers if I wanted. I think the SUB is the major deal, b/c even with volume low, the sub will still be in effect and I'm not sure if I can turn off just the sub with the Harmony remote or with the iPad app.

.

fortunately for you, due to the way humans hear, the sub should be a complete non-issue at low volumes...

google "fletcher munson curve" for more on this...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 


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post #12 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks rdclark. Thanks to your opinion about the Harmony One, along with SteveL1949 and oztech, ccotenj and bladerunner6- it's clear to me that that remote will be the answer rather than trying to get all Sony components.

I appreciated your perspective that it's better to combine those components with the best features, rather than being only limited to one brand. I also didn't know that the Harmony was deep enough to be able to set initial volumes...that is more in-depth than I expected.

ccotenj thanks for the information about subwoofers at low volumes. I read about the Fletcher Munson Curve. I'm just speculating (i.e. don't know jack) but it seems like our ears can be deceiving, we perceive certain frequencies better, etc. If this means my wife will not freak out at me for rattling the house windows with bass (that's for when I'm on my own) then that's great news.

I guess at this point the trick will be programming the Harmony One to make it intuitive and easy. Thanks again guys. If you've got any hints or things to avoid/definitely do re: the Harmony that'd be great. BTW I spent too much time with car audio, hence the headunit mentions! I'll call them AVRs from now on. Thanks again rdclark.
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post #13 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techneanderthal View Post

.

I appreciated your perspective that it's better to combine those components with the best features, rather than being only limited to one brand. I also didn't know that the Harmony was deep enough to be able to set initial volumes...that is more in-depth than I expected.

Just to be clear, I was referring to an AVR feature, rather than a specific capability of the Harmony. Which is not to say you can't program Harmony remotes to do just about anything that can be done with a unit's own remote. But their strength is in their easy initial setup and their overall usability as remotes.

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post #14 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 12:30 PM
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If your wife not a ten, dump the wife, I did, never been happier..
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Joehonest I laughed at your comment!
Quote:


If your wife not a ten, dump the wife, I did, never been happier..

All I can say, is that she's worth it, she goes to 11. !!
Hey thanks again to all who responded to this thread. I'm going to enjoy programming the Harmony One and setting up the 1021K. I can't wait to install the energy speakers and run the AVNav on the iPad. I've been running the demo and I like it a lot. The wiring navi app is so-so, it asks quite a few questions and seems to help with getting my head around the connections. The iControlAV2 app is sweet, the volume knob on the iPad alone is worth the price of admission. I'm glad that I won't be sending it back. I really hope that the Harmony One will live up to the hype. Thanks again. I think I'll keep the wife and if she loves the new remote I'll be singing all of your praises.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL1949 View Post

I also have a Harmony and can tell you it's a great solution, regardless of your TV Model, AVR model etc. They do them all.

There other alternatives however. There are plenty of times I want to watch the news or some other TV show where sound quality is less important. I have my Comcast box sending Component Video directly to my Sony TV, (Component Video Green/Blue/Red outputs) and then the Audio with two Analog out outputs, giving me Video/Stereo Audio directly to the TV.

Then I have HDMI going directly to my Onkyo 809, and of course one of the HDMI outputs on the "Onk" feeds the TV too.

So then I have two buttons to press on the Harmony:
  • TV Direct from Cable Box
  • TV with 5.1 from Onkyo

Works fine, lasts a long time.

YMMV

Steve L

Thanks for this post, Steve. This is exactly the setup I want to have eventually with my current VSX-921-K and the LED or Plasma set that will one day replace my aging Sony tube TV. I would be curious to know how you programmed your Harmony to handle these options. Any info you can provide will no doubt be most useful in the future. Thanks.

BTW, to the OP, I emailed Pioneer with the pass through question, as their website plainly says on both receiver's brochure "HDMI Standby Pass Through." This is a biggie for me, as I use my TV speakers 90% of the time for satellite viewing. I'll post their reply here for any interest.
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techneanderthal View Post

Dear AVS Forum members-
I am a longtime lurker but your forum is so helpful that I just joined today.
I'm hoping that you can help me shed some light on my quandary.
I just bought a Pioneer VSX 1021-K for $299 at Newegg, a great deal.
I am running a Sony 52" Bravia LED. We have been running all inputs into the TV Happily for a year and wife knows how to work that.

I am installing all of this new gear but don't really want to get in trouble with the wife, i.e. I want her to love it when she tries it out. The Pioneer is amazing for me because of the airplay, I find that great. BUT when I turn off the Pioneer nothing goes to the TV anymore (i.e. wife cannot use the Sony the way she used to...)

HDMI passthrough would save me here but it does not work on the Pioneer. I have read a ton of threads and it's all the same, how can they not have this feature, I am stunned, why can't they simply pass signals on at standby.

Now I fear that I may have to give up the great airplay and iOS apps on the Pioneer and get the Sony STR-DN1020. The Bravia Sync will apparently just work with the Sony TV, so wife can use it just like she did before, but then we can press "theatre" and have the big sound come on. I am hoping that with an Apple TV that I won't miss the Airplay features on the Pioneer, but I am kidding myself because the truth is that streaming directly to the receiver is better than having to use the Sony remote to turn on the Apple TV, and only then be able to control it with the iPhone.

I hate sending things back to the store and I really hope I'm not making a mistake. I even bought a harmony remote on amazon yesterday in the hopes that having a harmony combining the pioneer receiver with the sony tv would get me in the good books. That said, I think using the same sony remote might be better than learning a new Harmony. Is anyone using a Harmony with a Sony TV and Pioneer receiver? How is it working for you?

Apologies for the long post but anyone using a Sony tv with Pioneer HU, (or, Sony people using both Sony TV and Sony HU with Bravia Sync); I'd love to hear from you. Is the convenience of the Bravia sync worth giving up the Pioneer built-in airplay and iOS control? If it was just me, I'd definitely keep the Pioneer. But I have to keep the wife factor involved, I am sure that other guys are in the same boat, and things are easier when my better half is happy, then I'm happy. Thanks again.

The Harmony remote should simplify things for the wife. Have her play with it when you get it.
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 03:15 PM
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Techneanderthal, I'm glad you raised the question, I've been thinking of the exact same issue.

I've been trying to get up to speed on the features of today's AVRs. My old receiver from 2004 has no HDMI inputs.

I figured with a new AVR, I can connect multiple devices to it and send one HDMI cable to TV. Then, I started reading about HDMI passthru and wasn't sure exactly how it worked.

My wife watches a lot more TV than I do. She'll use the cable box remote to turn on the cable box and TV and can handle it from there. Unfortunately, to get surround sound from the cable box, you need to use the receiver, external speakers and change the Audio Digital Out setting on the cable box. She can't be bothered and I'm not looking to make an issue out of it.

I thought a new AVR would take the signal from the cable box and pass it thru to the TV without the AVR being powered on. Also, I'm hoping to avoid changing the Audio Digital Out setting on the cable box. Maybe other AVRs will do this, but the Pioneer 1021 was one of my candidates.

My goal:
AVR off = use TV speakers.
AVR on (input Cable) = surround sound with external speakers.

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post #19 of 20 Old 01-22-2012, 05:31 PM
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Another very happy Harmony One user with a Pioneer 1120k and Sony TV. I control the TV, AVR, Dish 722, Denon DVD player and Pioneer Blu-ray player with my Harmony with no issues. Have changed gear multiple times since getting the harmony and it is a piece of cake to reprogram. My girlfriends 10 year old daughter figured out how to use the Harmony with no instruction from me. I do not use the TV speakers at all, use the AVR all the time. It just simplifies things.

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post #20 of 20 Old 01-24-2012, 10:10 AM
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Here's the link (from their Japanese site, grouped by global region) to the components Pioneer claims HDMI control compatibility with; apparently, Sharp & Panasonic are it:

http://pioneer.jp/homeav/support/hdmi_cec/
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