Originally Posted by gmwedding
Until yesterday, I've been a satisfied Pioneer customer for 30 years. After much angst, I'm now a confused and potentially unsatisfied customer mired in this 2012 receiver discussion.
I just picked up a VSX-1122 to use with a Pioneer Plasma attached to a DirecTV receiver, AppleTV and external speakers in the master bedroom and a second set of speakers in the master bath. I wanted to test this setup and the iControlAV 2012 App before committing to a new SC-65 or SC-67 model for a more robust entertainment system with a 57-inch Panasonic plasma in the den.
After just 24-hours, I have encountered three vexing problems with this receiver/iOS software combination. I hope someone will tell me I'm missing something obvious.
The iControlAV 2012 iPad and iPhone App designs are quite sophisticated -- and for the most part, easy to setup and use. They are intuitive, fun to use and provide a better experience than similar remote software from other hardware manufacturers as far as they go. However, at first glance, the underlying technological controls do not appear to be as sophisticated as the eye-candy of the beautiful interface.
Specifically, I was flabbergasted to discover that two very basic remote control capabilities appear to be missing entirely from both the iPad and iPhone versions of these Pioneer Apps:
1. You can't use the iOS devices and Apps for the most basic of all TV remote control functions (change channels, switch resolutions, change aspect ratio/zoom functions). Indeed, it appears that these Apps cannot even be programmed by the user to support channel-changing with satellite or cable receivers.
So, is this true? Do I still have to pick up the wand-style remote just to change the satellite channels and/or select a movie or song on an AppleTV? Tell me I'm wrong. Of course, I can switch to Apple's Remote App or the DirecTV App to control these functions, but in the long run, that's not gonna' be very satisfying. Unfortunately, while DirecTV's iPad App allows channel-changing, the DirecTV iPhone App doesn't.
The lack of channel-changing technology in these Pioneer Apps seems to be a brain-dead omission.
2. These Apps do not appear to offer subwoofer equalizer support (though I assume the sub settings still can be edited using the standard wand remote and on-screen guide or MCACC).
3. Furthermore, for the third year in a row, Pioneer has released a new version of this App with no support for last year's models. Even Pioneer's top-of-the-line, 2011 SC-55 and SC-57 receivers instantly were rendered obsolete by this new, 2012 software (before their two-year warranties have expired).
If Pioneer's App updates don't support currently-shipping and warrantied receivers each year, how can a consumer trust that the Apps will work the third, fourth or fifth year when subsequent iOS updates are released? And what happens when a control App stops working after some future iOS update a few years down the road? Does Pioneer really expect customers to switch from buying new receivers every 20 years to buying new receivers every three-to-five years (like computers)? And does Pioneer expect this with such anemic software support?
Pioneer's new receiver/new App explanation makes it seem like the company still is building all the receiver's functionality right into the hardware instead of into the new software. If so, this means that these Apps are just a "skin" overtop of the old button-festooned interfaces. If true, that's very Microsoftian (and completely "bass-ackwards" from the way Apple marries hardware and software).
If I had to, I'd probably pay a recurring fee (maybe $25 or so annually) for firmware and/or software compatibility updates. But I certainly don't want to be left hanging in limbo every year. As an example: while making this VSX-1122 purchase yesterday, I learned that a firmware update has been available for some time that would correct a longstanding problem with my 2009 Elite VSX-23TX. Do you think Pioneer bothered to inform customers of the firmware update? The answer would be no. Worse, from what I have learned, it appears that Pioneer requires customers to uncover "secret" firmware updates on their own and that the firmware updates be installed by authorized service centers which then charge for what amounts to hardware bug fixes.
I purchased this new, VSX-1122 receiver knowing the iControlAV software had some limitations, but all these aforementioned issues are just dumbfounding and seem like deal breakers. I mean a TV remote software App that can't change channels? Really?
Hopefully, someone will point out that I'm missing some obvious solution here. Otherwise, I'm thinking about returning the receiver and dropping any idea of buying a new SC-67 or SC-68.
Perhaps someone with more iControlAV experience (or the Pioneer rep) can weigh in here. I'd really hate to dump Pioneer and start over, but if the company does't address omissions like these, some other company (maybe Apple once again) is eventually going to waltz in and take away the receiver market too.