Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV... few questions about it (and my setup) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 242 Old 09-28-2006, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I just found these forums a few days ago and have since been camped out here trying to piece together my first home theatre system. I am stuck on a few points however... I hope someone may be able to help.

I've zeroed in on the Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV Receiver because to my untrained eye and best effort, it seems ideal. I'm just looking for confirmation that this unit will, in fact, convert component or composite inputs into an HDMI output directly to my TV? or is it merely an HDMI switching unit where no conversion takes place? Also... if this unit DOES convert to HDMI, does the quality in match the quality out? i.e. does 1080i coming in on component cable get converted to HDMI and leave at 1080i as well? Or does it come out at 480i after the conversion? I've seen some receivers that apparently downgrade like that. Any help on that would be fantastic.

I've also heard that this unit is HDMI 1.2. Does that matter?

Another problem I face is that I live in Alaska. Home theatre stores are scarce, and the one reputable place in town has a small selection. I am faced with having to make my choice with 95% probability of not being able to listen and/or see first, which can't be helped. I'm really banking on reviews and experience to help me choose wisely.

Some background on my system for anyone willing to offer some advice to a first-time, new-to-home-theatre enthusiast:

TV will be a 42" Westinghouse 1080p (LVM-42w2) with HDMI-in.

Receiver (yet to be determined, but will be the VSX-81 if I get the right answers)

DVD vs. HD-DVD (undecided)

Speakers will be B&W's, either 602's or 603's for fronts and 600's rear, matching center and sub.

Current peripherals consist of 2 component-out items and 4 composite-out items.

Thanks in advance for any help!

-Jason
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post #2 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 01:01 AM
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get the toshiba HDA1 hd dvd player, or the new genA2 XA2 when they are out in next 3 months. great upconverter with sd dvd and of course the hd dvd will look great.

if your space and budget allows would go for a 50" panasonic plasma.

HD HD HD I Need more HD, Yes I am a HD Addict :)
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post #3 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 07:11 AM
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If it were me I would wait on the HD DVD or Blu Ray players and go with an inexpensive but nice DVD player and when the High Def players start to take off and improve upgrade at that time.

Everything else seems fine especially if you like the performance and sound which is all that matters.
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post #4 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskanpilot View Post


I've zeroed in on the Pioneer Elite VSX-81TXV Receiver because to my untrained eye and best effort, it seems ideal. I'm just looking for confirmation that this unit will, in fact, convert component or composite inputs into an HDMI output directly to my TV? or is it merely an HDMI switching unit where no conversion takes place? Also... if this unit DOES convert to HDMI, does the quality in match the quality out? i.e. does 1080i coming in on component cable get converted to HDMI and leave at 1080i as well? Or does it come out at 480i after the conversion? I've seen some receivers that apparently downgrade like that. Any help on that would be fantastic.

-Jason

Jason,

I am in a similar situation...
I have similar speakers as you with B&W 603, CC6, 601s-now using LM1 since I have to wall mount.
Wanting HD-DVD, either A1 or A2.
Looking to upgrade an older Denon DVR, and have narrowed it down to a Pioneer Elite 81 or 82.
Both of these will do video conversion from analog to HDMI, so it is not an HDMI pass-through (like the 80 and 1016), but can be selected either way (HDMI = AMP / Through). The big differences between the two is the 82 has 3 HDMIs & Faroudja DCDi Video Scaler. From what I understand, with the 81, what comes in analog is what goes out HDMI, i.e. no scaling, the 82 with the DCDI can scale (Resolution = Pure / 480p / 720p / 1080i) - this is according to the manuals, as I have not seen them in action.

JayMan
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post #5 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 01:31 PM
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i have the VSX81 and can comment that it doesn't degrade the video signal at all, looks spectacular with HD-DVD. also, it does transcode all video sources to the HDMI output, and it is HDMI 1.2. Everything that Jay said above is also correct.

Craig
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post #6 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 02:09 PM
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Does the 81 provide on-screen displays for their front panel and other set ups?
Does it provide the displays on top of the currently viewed TV video?
THe Pioneer 1016 requires one to switch to its video input and then the display is very crude text. Then I think only for the Auto equalization, but nothing for the receiver setup or whats presented on the front panel. The front panel is impossible to read from a distance. It would be great to see the avreceiver info on screen over the top of the currently viewed video.

Are any of the recievers more sophisticated as quality of display and functional content of display.?

thanks!
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post #7 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 02:43 PM
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I have the 81 as well. I have the following devices connected to the receiver and sent to TV using 1 HDMI cable:

- DirecTV Hi-Def TiVO (HDMI A/V)
- Xbox360 (Component/Optical)
- Xbox (Component/Optical)
- Samsung DVD-R120 (S-Video/RCA)
- Toshiba HD-A1 (HDMI A/V)

Everything works great and yes, there is an OSD. The receiver should have enough power for your speakers. You can always add a more powerful amp later on if needed.
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post #8 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow... guys, that's great info! I love this place!

So I have the VSX 81 on it's way to me now... should be here next week.

So just to clarify... this unit apparently does an excellent job converting all inputs into HDMI. One thing I don't really understand is "scaling". What exactly is that, and how does it affect me if I have the 81?

Also, the HDMI cable from this unit to the TV... would carry both video AND audio, correct? So in theory... I can plug all my peripherals into the receiver; then have only two cables going to my TV... the HDMI from the receiver and the TV power cord? This is sounding better and better.

Still haven't decided on DVD vs. HDDVD yet; or whether to choose 602's or 603's as speakers.
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post #9 of 242 Old 09-29-2006, 09:07 PM
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The 82 and 84 have chips which will take content from older 480i sources (i.e. VCR, older game consoles, etc) and scale them to 720p or 1080i and output that to a hi-def display.

If you output 480i to the tv, it too has a scaler which will blow up the image to match the tv's native resolution (often 1024x768 or 1366x768... 1920x1080 if you're lucky). Typically an external scaler, be it a standalone or built-in to your receiver, will do a better job than the tv.

Since my hi-def DirecTiVO and HD DVD player have built-in scalers, I couldn't justify the added cost of the 82 or 84.
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post #10 of 242 Old 09-30-2006, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskanpilot View Post


Also, the HDMI cable from this unit to the TV... would carry both video AND audio, correct? So in theory... I can plug all my peripherals into the receiver; then have only two cables going to my TV... the HDMI from the receiver and the TV power cord? This is sounding better and better.

Still haven't decided on DVD vs. HDDVD yet; or whether to choose 602's or 603's as speakers.

The HDMI cable can be set up to carry both Video & Audio (HDMI = Through) and then use TV speakers, or just send Video to TV (HDMI = Amp) and use the AVR for Audio to get 5.1 sound.

As far as the speakers, will this be only for TV/Movies or will it be for music also? Like I said before, I have the 603's and they are great. The reason I have them is because I had them with a two channel system (Adcom Pre & Amp & no Sub). If you are using a sub, then it won't matter as much. The 603's are Floor standing, wher the 602 can be shelf or pedistal. The 602's have received very good reviews over the years.

I still listen to a lot of two-channel music and really like my speakers for that reason. (plus they are still connected to the Adcom amp using the pre-out on my Denon AVR)

Which DVD player are you looking at? I also need to upgrade my current DVD Player and I'm looking at the Denon 1730, or get the HD-DVD.
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post #11 of 242 Old 09-30-2006, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayMan007 View Post

The HDMI cable can be set up to carry both Video & Audio (HDMI = Through) and then use TV speakers, or just send Video to TV (HDMI = Amp) and use the AVR for Audio to get 5.1 sound.

As far as the speakers, will this be only for TV/Movies or will it be for music also? Like I said before, I have the 603's and they are great. The reason I have them is because I had them with a two channel system (Adcom Pre & Amp & no Sub). If you are using a sub, then it won't matter as much. The 603's are Floor standing, wher the 602 can be shelf or pedistal. The 602's have received very good reviews over the years.

I still listen to a lot of two-channel music and really like my speakers for that reason. (plus they are still connected to the Adcom amp using the pre-out on my Denon AVR)

Which DVD player are you looking at? I also need to upgrade my current DVD Player and I'm looking at the Denon 1730, or get the HD-DVD.

Ok, thanks. I guess that was just a brain fart, I don't know why I needed to know if the HDMI would carry audio to the TV if I'm using 5.1 speakers. I will use the speakers for an equal balance between everything... movies, music, video games. When I was comparing the 602's and 603's at the showroom, both speakers were only demonstrated in pairs... i.e. I was not able to actually hear them in a 5.1 setup. It sounds like adding additional speakers, especially a sub, would conceal some of the sound difference between the 602's and 603's? I was thinking that if I do choose the 602's I could use the money savings to spring on an HDDVD player. In any case... 602's and 603's would both sound fantastic to the point of absurdity.

Regarding DVD players, I was either going to get the Toshiba A1, or if not HD then I'm undecided. I see standard DVD players from $100 to $1000 and I have no idea what accounts for the difference in price. What's important to me is that, if I'm going standard, it have HDMI out and 1080p upconversion. But what makes the $500-up DVD players so expensive? What do they do that the others don't?
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post #12 of 242 Old 09-30-2006, 10:38 AM
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There isn't much difference between $100 and $1000 sd dvd players except for the amount of money you're paying for marketing an overhyped, overpriced product. I have an LG LDA-511 with HDMI upconversion and it's as good as any dvd player I have ever owned.

I also wouldn't bother with 1080p. It's not a standard and is overhyped.... thank Sony and their "true 1080p" marketing for that one. Few TV's can accept a 1080p signal and all will convert lower res signals to their native resolution.

The only time true 1080p will matter is if your display's native resolution is 1920x1080p.

I'm not familiar with the 602's or 603's, so I would probably post in the speaker forum. There are a number of B&W fans and they could probably tell you what the differences are and help to make a decision.

BTW - If you check Techbargains.com, I often see the HD-A1 on sale for $400.
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post #13 of 242 Old 09-30-2006, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, BigMike. Yes, my TV actually has native 1080p I believe; it's the 42" Westinghouse. I know Samsung makes a ~$150 player that upconverts to 1080p and I've been eyeballing that one if I don't get HD. But I also think a DVD/VCR combo would be nice, so that I have one less piece of equipment cluttering things up. However, none I've seen will do a 1080p upconvert. Honestly, I don't even know if I'll be able to tell 1080i from 1080p.
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post #14 of 242 Old 10-14-2006, 08:38 AM
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I am considering the VSX-81TXV or the ONKYO TX-SR674. The ONKYO offers Video Upconversion to HDMI with deinterlacing and I believe the VSX is only passthru for component and s-video.

Anyone else looked at both? What do you guys think? Price wise I can get the ONKYO for about $100 less.
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post #15 of 242 Old 10-14-2006, 09:53 AM
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I looked at both and went with the Pioneer. My tv does a good job of handling 480i sources and I so seldom use them that, for me, the upscaling was a waste of money.
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post #16 of 242 Old 10-16-2006, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gillest View Post

I am considering the VSX-81TXV or the ONKYO TX-SR674. The ONKYO offers Video Upconversion to HDMI with deinterlacing and I believe the VSX is only passthru for component and s-video.

Anyone else looked at both? What do you guys think? Price wise I can get the ONKYO for about $100 less.


The VSX-81TXV (according to the Pioneer website) will do video upconversion to HDMI. The VSX-80 is the passthrough model that you are thinking of. to get the Faroudja DCDi you would need the 82 or 84.
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post #17 of 242 Old 10-26-2006, 05:32 AM
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I currently have the HD-A1 set up to my AVR through analog 5.1, which is need in order to get TrueHD, since my AVR lacks HDMI. I have 6.1 speakers (am looking to move up to 7.1) and because I can only use the analog 5.1, I'm not getting any sound in the rear speaker.

What I'm trying to find out, and this may beg an obvious answer, is if upgrading to an AVR with HDMI will allow me to get TrueHD AND interpolate sound to the rear speaker. Since my current AVR will do this with 5.1, I'm wondering if I can get TrueHD and the rear speaker...

If yes, then which player seems most suitable for it? If no, then any recommendations?

And, also, does anyone know when HD-DVD will feature 7.1 sound? Is it a player issue, or are they all compatible and it's simply a question of when the HD-DVDs themselves will be mastered in 7.1?

Thanks a lot for the help!

Officially dual format. I don't care what I buy, as long as it's not a combo.
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post #18 of 242 Old 11-22-2006, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayMan007 View Post

The HDMI cable can be set up to carry both Video & Audio (HDMI = Through) and then use TV speakers, or just send Video to TV (HDMI = Amp) and use the AVR for Audio to get 5.1 sound.

The VSX-81 and all the other current Elite receivers DO NOT convert the audio for passing along on the HDMI cable. While these do a fine job converting other video sources like component, s-video and composite, they DO NOT convert the audio. Not even if it's digital coax or fiber. The only audio the VSX passes is audio from one of the HDMI inputs.

So if you want music or other (non-HDMI) sources to play through the display you'll have to run a whole other set of stereo audio cables.
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post #19 of 242 Old 11-23-2006, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskanpilot View Post

Wow... guys, that's great info! I love this place!

So I have the VSX 81 on it's way to me now... should be here next week.

So just to clarify... this unit apparently does an excellent job converting all inputs into HDMI. One thing I don't really understand is "scaling". What exactly is that, and how does it affect me if I have the 81?

Also, the HDMI cable from this unit to the TV... would carry both video AND audio, correct? So in theory... I can plug all my peripherals into the receiver; then have only two cables going to my TV... the HDMI from the receiver and the TV power cord? This is sounding better and better.

Still haven't decided on DVD vs. HDDVD yet; or whether to choose 602's or 603's as speakers.

So did you get the 81 set up yet? How bout a review. I also am getting ready to pull the trigger on the 81, but its between it and the Onkyo TX-SR674. I would love to here owners talk about either of the two. My setup is as follows:

Samsung HL-S7178W DLP
XBOX 360
Time Warner Cable HD DVR
Possible XBOX 360 HD DVD (Waiting to see who wins the format war)
SVS PB 12 Subwoofer
Klipsh Synergy III Mains
Klipsh Synergy III Surrounds (2 pair for 7.1 setup)
Klipsh Synergy III Center Channel
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post #20 of 242 Old 11-23-2006, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjohns72 View Post

So did you get the 81 set up yet? How bout a review. I also am getting ready to pull the trigger on the 81, but its between it and the Onkyo TX-SR674. I would love to here owners talk about either of the two. My setup is as follows:

Samsung HL-S7178W DLP
XBOX 360
Time Warner Cable HD DVR
Possible XBOX 360 HD DVD (Waiting to see who wins the format war)
SVS PB 12 Subwoofer
Klipsh Synergy III Mains
Klipsh Synergy III Surrounds (2 pair for 7.1 setup)
Klipsh Synergy III Center Channel

I bought the 81 during the first week of availability. Overall, I am very pleased. HDMI switching works great. I have multiple game consoles, Blu-ray, HD DVD, Xbox 360, etc and they are all output to the tv via HDMI. No complaints whatsoever...

BTW - Tweeter/Hi-Fi Buys has the unit on sale for $855 this week.
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post #21 of 242 Old 12-02-2006, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gillest View Post

I am considering the VSX-81TXV or the ONKYO TX-SR674. The ONKYO offers Video Upconversion to HDMI with deinterlacing and I believe the VSX is only passthru for component and s-video.

Anyone else looked at both? What do you guys think? Price wise I can get the ONKYO for about $100 less.


My decision came down to these two receivers, and I opted for the 81txv because it is future proof, according to the sticky thread up top, which you may want to read. CNET has a great review on the Onk.

They both seem like great receivers, but if you are going to use an HD DVD or Blue Ray player with your system, I think you'll want the Pioneer, from what I understand.
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post #22 of 242 Old 12-02-2006, 10:58 AM
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There's really no such thing as "future proof." As things evolve, there will always be new codecs and connectors, which means that you don't want to overspend, especially when it comes to receivers.

The 81 was a little more than I wanted to spend, but HDMI is the future and it's the best combination of features and value.
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post #23 of 242 Old 12-02-2006, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMikeATL View Post

There's really no such thing as "future proof." As things evolve, there will always be new codecs and connectors, which means that you don't want to overspend, especially when it comes to receivers.

The 81 was a little more than I wanted to spend, but HDMI is the future and it's the best combination of features and value.

We're talking semantics, here, but I agree that nothing is generally future proof. My claim that it was future proof had to do with the audio demands of the immediate future, as detailed in the sticky thread I referenced.

I'm picking up my 81 tomorrow, unless someone gives me a reason not to. There does not seem to be much info on these threads about it.
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post #24 of 242 Old 12-02-2006, 01:24 PM
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Gotcha.

I have had mine for months and am very happy with it.
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post #25 of 242 Old 12-02-2006, 02:58 PM
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Thank you, Mike.

Can't wait to try it out. I'll post my results once it's up and running.
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post #26 of 242 Old 12-05-2006, 05:24 AM
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I have the Pioneer and am using the HDMI inputs for my HD DVD player and Blu-Ray player (I'm assuming the audio will be covered since I'm using HDMI).

However for my cable box, I was going to connect to the receiver with component. My receiver is connected to a projector system, so does this mean I have to route audio cables from my receiver to my projector to handle audio for my cable box?

< --little confused
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post #27 of 242 Old 12-05-2006, 07:05 AM
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Well, the receiver outputs audio from your speakers. I don't see why you would need to route audio to the projector... just the video.
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post #28 of 242 Old 12-05-2006, 06:28 PM
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I too have the 81 and love it.

However, I am a novice when it comes to electronics and have found this site very helpful.

I have a question for some of you more experienced folks, I pre ordered the A2 and am anticipating arrival soon after release.

My question is this, there are 2 HDMI inputs on the 81.

I have DTV HR20 going in one and HDMI to my Sony XBR2.

I plan on running the Toshiba A2 HDDVD to the 81 via HDMI. However, I am confused with the following. (Please don't laugh).

The remote control on the 81 shows HDMI 1/2 as does DVD 1/2.

Currently, I press HDMI 1/2 and get my picture and sound. If I plug my A2 into the second HDMI, with that activate this button once for HDMI 1 HR20) and twice for HDMI 2 (A2)?
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post #29 of 242 Old 12-05-2006, 07:53 PM
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Yes, pressing it more than once switches between HDMI inputs.

In the Setup menu, you can also change the labels of these which appear on the display. I changed mine to read "DirecTV" and "HD DVD"
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post #30 of 242 Old 12-05-2006, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMikeATL View Post

Yes, pressing it more than once switches between HDMI inputs.

In the Setup menu, you can also change the labels of these which appear on the display. I changed mine to read "DirecTV" and "HD DVD"

Thanks Mike.

Can't wait to try it out.
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